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I started this project as a way to provide food to people in the east bay who are struggling with food insecurity. It was also a way to prevent food waste. It was in operation for three full years and we closed in October 2023. Thank you to all of our neighbors who took the time to drop food off. Your generosity had a ripple effect. The pantry became a point of contact for us to all connect with each other, and that's the part that I miss the most. 

How did it work? 

Since it was open 24 hours a day, our food pantry filled the gaps in the food system. It was a place people could go to get food when all other food banks were closed. People came at all hours of the day. I would see cars stopping at 10pm, and lots of people in the morning and throughout the day. 

 

Who used the food pantry?


Seniors on a fixed income, single moms & dads, nannies, day laborers, high school kids, people who are in between jobs, people who are living in their cars and folks who are experiencing homelessness. Lots of people came by bike. We would see the same people come in their cars. It became a destination and a reliable source of food.   

We built trust with the people who used the pantry every day. They knew that all the food there was safe. Anything that was not in good condition was removed. I loved that people would bring food from their gardens, and fruit trees.

I resourced and gave out $300 of ACME bread every week, BOMBAS socks, fresh produce, coffee beans, hygiene supplies and shelf stable food over the years.  The dollar value of what was given away is $80,000. That is being conservative! 
 

I thank ACME bakery, Berkeley Food Network, Berkeley Food Pantry, STARTER bakery and Berkeley Free Clinic for donating thousands of dollars of socks and food. 

Mutual aid only works if there is a group of people who are actively caring for the project on a regular basis. I think a project like this would work best on a kibbutz, where everyone knows each other and supports a real world activity of public food sharing and preventing food waste. Then the resource would truly be for those who needed it, and it would be tended to and cared for collectively.   

– Veronica

Read the article about our food sharing project in Berkeleyside

Berkeleyside
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