Our First Service Day at the Alameda County Community Food Bank

The Happy Eating Place crew went to the Alameda County Community Food Bank to learn more about what people can do to help the hungry in our communities. We worked there too. We bagged 4000 pounds of apples that will go out to different food pantries in the area this week. We learned that the Food Bank buys food from farms and whole sale companies with money donated by the public. They can buy $4 worth of food for every dollar donated because they buy in bulk.

We learned that last year 26 million pounds of food was collected and distributed by the Alameda Food Bank. That is more than 2 million pounds of food a month. There are a lot of hungry people in our county. Each week, the food bank serves 49,000 different people, or 200,000 different people each month. Who are they?

We learned that many of them are children. About a third of the people are elderly and a third are children. Children and seniors cannot earn money, so they need help. Then there are families who can’t earn enough to pay for food and other basic expenses. Sometimes, a family has unexpected expenses or have to pay for expensive medicines. They are faced with a difficult choice: food or medicine.

There are many reasons for families facing these challenges. Some are underemployed, or unemployed. Others have jobs that don’t pay enough to live on. We learned that for a family to live on minimum wage ($8 per hour), the worker would have to work 20 hours per day 6 days a week just to make enough to pay bills and buy food.

We learned that there are people who work to make change: advocates. In San Jose, students in high school and college advocated making a change in their city. When they learned about the challenges facing minimum wage workers, they wanted to help. They felt that these workers deserved better pay, a living wage. So they wrote a bill, got a lot of people to sign a petition to put that bill on the ballot, it was voted on by the public and it won! Now minimum wage workers in San Jose earn $10 an hour. Another bill that was voted on and passed ordered all charter schools to serve free and reduced lunches so that children could have access to healthy meals. Unfortunately that bill was vetoed by Governor Brown.

There are other ways to help. The food that they get from the Food Drive bins is better because it has a variety of foods that the food bank can’t buy. It’s hard for them to get canned meat, because it’s expensive. Every item you donate to the food bank helps a family in need. So please help us end hunger by donating food and doing some work at the Alameda County Food Bank. Have a nice day!

The Happy Eating Place crew
MCCS 4/5 class of 2014!

There is a food drive happening on the Mills College campus now through December 10, with a bin in front of the office! Here’s more information:

The season of giving has begun at Mills College. The red bins have been delivered to the campus for our annual Mills College Food Drive for the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

Drive Dates: November 1 – December 10

In addition to the canned food drive, we are participating in the virtual food drive drive for a second year. For every $1 you donate the Food Bank distributes $4 worth of food! If you want to contribute money in addition to canned food or simply don’t want to deal with food purchases and carrying food to the bins, please consider the virtual drive. Last year, we met our goal of $1,600 – $10 for each year Mills has been a college. We have raised the bar this year and challenge the Mills community to donate $2,013 to the Alameda County Community Food Bank!

To contribute to the virtual drive, please go here and select our group, “Mills College.”

Most needed food drive items:
Canned fruits and vegetables
Canned meats and fish
Low-salt soups, stews and chili
Pasta and sauce
Beans and rice
Peanut butter
Low-sugar cereal and oatmeal
Powered milk
Please NO glass containers!

Feel free to contact me if you have questions about the food drive.

Many thanks for your support.

Linda Northcott
Food Drive Coordinator
Director of College Events


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