Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

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Archives

    Oakland Food Pantry helps the hungry with a smile

    Twice a week, the Oakland Food Pantry distributes food at its new location, the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church at 1301 Willow Street in Oakland. It is a constant pursuit to end hunger in the community.
    Greg Leggett, Executive Director of the Oakland Food Pantry advised, “Offering the community part of the 10,000 pounds of food, the pantry has been successful, but distributing food to needy families is not without constant effort. There are from 350–400 people who sign up for the biweekly food pantry distribution.” With donations and pledges from local business donors, the effort has been supported so far. 
    The Holiday Season Partners of Walnut Creek have pledged 500 turkeys for food bank recipients this Thanksgiving holiday, along with the Alameda County Food Bank. The growing need for food will be reached once again this holiday season. 
    An event to benefit the food pantry is coming up this month for Halloween. The Halloween Monster Dash will take place Saturday, Oct. 31 starting at 9 a.m. 
    Runners will race, and there will be food, music, games and raffles, all for the benefit of the pantry. The West Oakland Firefighters and Oakland Police Department provide support to events such as this. 
    There is another event scheduled in December to raise funds, the 3rd Annual Pasta Feed. Both events hope to raise the necessary funding and surpass needs to just break even while putting on the community events. 
    Leggett advised there are already 100 runners signed up to participate in the Halloween Monster Dash. More information can be found at the Oakland Food Pantry’s website.
    Client choice, where clients choose food from pantry shelves, is a unique feature offered, rather than traditional pre-bagged items, which can cause waste of undesirable food products.
    Clients must arrive as early as 6 a.m. on a Tuesday or Saturday morning to secure a ticket voucher that will then allow them to come back at 11:00 a.m. to choose their food from the pantry offerings.
    Oakland residents are free to visit the Oakland Food Pantry twice a week at the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church.Tower reported a patron was asked if he was happy with the things from the pantry (see photo of basket), and he replied, “Yes, of course, wouldn’t you! If you could choose what you wanted to take?” The reporter agreed. 
    The program now distributes food from a space shared with a non¬profit agency at 1301 Willow Street. It has always offered client choice of the food offered, rather than the traditional pre-bagged approach. 
    It also accepts volunteer help to distribute; volunteers can pick their spot in a time slot choice offered on the website. For more information, go to volunteerspot.com and register for the Oakland Food Pantry. 
    This effort continues in the face of increased demands caused by more people who use the service. The needs of both new and regularly served clients are met in spite of relocating the distribution to the shared space located in West Oakland.
    Currently the food pantry is being charged $900 per month for rent of the shared space in the church multi-purpose center. 
    That amount is a strain on the operation budget and the need for continuous fund raising will occur until a location is found that will allow the program to operate at low-cost rent or for free. That is the goal of Greg Leggett, executive director of the Oakland Food Pantry. 
    The food pantry had been operating out of a secure space that was offered free of rent from the start of food distribution which began in 2010. After vacating the space for lack of an agreement to pay a reasonable rent amount, it has been difficult to locate and secure a space with below market rent. 
    In 2014, the non-profit’s original agency organizer and property owner of the Peralta Street location, Greg Harland, gave notification to the board of directors that he could not continue to allow use of the space without a lease. 
    “He was asking for $500.00 per month with an increase of $250.00 per quarter until market rent could be charged,” was reported in a Bay Area KCBS news radio broadcast from December 2014. 
    In the subsequent eviction Harlan pursued his terms and the facility was forced to relocate. In December, of that year, he would not accept a counteroffer requesting a 30 day stay to allow the food bank to relocate. 
    According to the Oakland Food Pantry Website, at oaklandfoodpantry.org: “The families that come to OFP survive on about $821 a month. Most of that comes through government programs such as Social Security, Disability and General Assistance. 
    “Many supplement that income through a variety of sources — some legal, some not.”

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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