By Ingrid Becker, Associate Director, Community Engagement

Two is better than one, or so it seems for ACCFB volunteers.  This Valentine’s Day we asked some of our married couples and partners to share what brought them to ACCFB together.

“It’s a fun thing to do together,” says Jennifer Banker who has been volunteering at ACCFB with her husband Steve since 2018. “The way the food bank here is run, the logistics, the friendly people, it’s always wonderful to work here,” adds Steve.

Steve’s Oakland real estate company participated in annual food drives for years. Now that the Alamo couple are regulars in the warehouse, they do everything from bagging produce to recycling cardboard.

“We help each other,” Steve says. “Sometimes, with my big fingers, I have trouble with the mesh bag, and Jen can tie knots better.”

Volunteers Jennifer and Steve who have been volunteering together at ACCFB since 2018, grinning widely in the Community Engagement Center

Jennifer and Steve, photo by Ren Almanzor

Shantha and Philip Ursell began volunteering together in 2020. Each week, they arrive at the Community Engagement Center with matching thermoses for break time and sometimes peel off on separate warehouse projects.

Shantha likes sorting donated items in the food drive area. Philip is happiest chatting with other volunteers over a produce bin.

“We feel safe here, and we feel useful for the community,” Shantha says.

The Piedmont couple are longtime donors, but Shantha’s job running an intensive care cardiac unit and Philip’s work as a pathologist left little time for volunteering. Now retired, they have more time to spend volunteering.

“We’ve seen the very good work that’s done here and believe others feel the same way,” Philip says.

Volunteers Shantha and Philip, who have been volunteering together at ACCFB since 2020, standing together and smiling in the Community Engagement Center

Shantha and Philip, photo by Ren Almanzor

Marcia Kai-Kee and Ed Oshika also began volunteering in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. The married Oakland pair share one day in the warehouse and volunteer separately on other days.

Marcia is hooked on the “Zen” of produce bagging.

“I not only get to see my friends who are regulars, and I very much enjoy them, but I also get to meet new people, so it’s very rewarding in that sense,” Marcia says.

Ed is one of our lead warehouse volunteers, but he likes the variety of also helping at distributions. He gathers client feedback at partner agencies and assists with the Eat Learn Play mobile pantry.

“You see the bag going into the hands of the client,” he says. “And I believe that it’s really helping the people.”

Volunteers Marcia and Ed, who have been volunteering together since 2020, standing together with wide smiles in the Community Engagement Center

Marcia and Ed, photo by Ren Almanzor