Last year was my first exposure to the Alameda County Community Food Bank since I had to fulfill volunteer hours to reduce my traffic violation fine. I signed up to be in their email list so that I could be up to date with their progress and growth. They recently invited me to attend the Cesar Chavez Day of Service and I decided check it out. When an email reminder regarding the event was sent, it displayed that there was a waitlist. This shocked me since it’s a volunteer event on a Friday from 4-7pm. I mean, how many people are willing to give up their early evening Fridays?
All I can say is wow! That was one of my most inspirational experiences in my life. There seemed to be over 100 guests and I met so many cheerful and passionate people. Our combined efforts that evening produced about 30,000 lbs. of food for distribution!
Here’s a couple fascinating facts that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
- They serve 1 in 6 residents of Alameda County and nearly two-thirds are children and seniors.
- They distribute enough food for 300,000 meals weekly
To start the event, we had a moment to reflect on the legacy of Cesar Chavez and here’s one of his quotes that resonates me and Mari’s passion towards the pro-local movement.
“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed.”
When you make a conscious effort to shift some of your spending budget from big-box stores (e.g. Walmart) or nationwide chains to locally owned businesses you make an instant impact in your community. According to the San Francisco Locally Owned Merchants Alliance:
“A 10% shift in consumer spending from chains and Internet to locally owned retail, would create nearly 1300 new jobs and over $190 million in increased economic output for San Francisco.”
Imagine the numbers if this study reflected the entire Bay Area.
Those of us who are privileged to have at least 3 meals a day should always keep in mind our neighbors who stress about having 1 meal per day. We can make a difference now! Like I told Suzan Bateson, the ACCFB’s Executive Director towards the end of the event:
“It’s like you get a natural high.”
Thank you Cesar Chavez and the Alameda County Community Food Bank!