Letters to the Editor
Since I became director of the Alameda Food Bank, I have been skeptical when anyone in our organization refers to our clients as "them."
This past year, I have spent many cold mornings at our warehouse on the old base at Alameda Point, giving clients information and food options.
When I look at the older singles, or the moms with kids or the older brothers and sisters picking up for their homebound parents, I see our community — the faces of our friends and neighbors, people who live among us whose children go to our schools, whom we run into on the street, whom we see at the physician’s office.
Food insecurity can affect all kinds of different people at different times in their lives for very different reasons. And many of "us" need help, even temporarily, so difficult choices between enough food and paying the electricity bill or between enough food and paying for needed medications need not be made.
The quadrennial "Hunger in America" study commissioned by Feeding America, the national network of food banks, was released recently. Our partner agency, the Alameda County Community Food Bank, serves one in five county residents. Here in Alameda, the Alameda Food Bank serves one in six city residents. The Hunger in America study described a food security problem nationally that has worsened:
• Each week nationally, local food banks served 37 million Americans including 14 million children and nearly 3 million seniors; this is a 27 percent increase over numbers reported in "Hunger in America" in 2006.
• 36 percent of these client households are experiencing food insecurity or hunger, meaning they are sometimes completely out of food.
• Locally, the Alameda Food Bank served 4,136 people in 2007, and 5,071 people in 2013
With nearly 200 volunteers and collaborating churches, grocery stores and local service agencies, we are truly Alamedans (and Bay Area residents!) coming together to support those among us who are having a tough time. A bright spot for us in the dismal news of the Hunger in America study, has been the truly remarkable way Alamedans (and other Bay Area residents!) have stepped up to support the Alameda Food Bank again. Our broader community’s response to the Spring Challenge was to contribute more than our goal of $30,000. We are deeply grateful to every person across the Island City who wrote us a check or made a credit card pledge. We are especially appreciative of the more than 20 local businesses who contributed to us.
Caring and giving on the local level is a wonderful way to help food scarcity problems in our region and in our nation. Our community’s gifts and support continue to sustain and help "us."
The inaugural season of the reborn Parks and Recreation Summer Baseball Program — affectionately known as the T-Shirt League — has just concluded. It was successful beyond our wildest expectations.
The program operated in five Alameda parks (Tillman, Bayport, Franklin, Lincoln and Washington) and served more than 300 kindergarten through fifth graders! All equipment, shirts and supervision were provided free of charge thanks to the generous support of the community.
On behalf of the advisory board of the Alameda Recreation and Parks Summer Baseball Program, we’d like to thank everyone who supported bringing this legendary program back to the community.
A special thank you to our sponsor, the Alameda Elks Lodge #1015 (who also sponsored the original T-Shirt League).
Thanks also to Kyle Conner and the Alameda Theatre and Cineplex for donating use of the theater for our big fundraising event in March (and to Pacific Fine Food, McGee’s Bar and Grill and Stacy and Shelly, the Oakland Athletics, Tudal Wine and all who attended for making the event a huge success). Also appreciation to Alameda Friends of the Parks, who handled all contributions for the program (to donate to the program, visit www.alamedaparks.org).
Congratulations to the Alameda Recreation and Parks Department for executing this vision and making the summer of 2014 a little more special for hundreds of kids in Alameda.
Alameda is truly a unique and special community, and the T-Shirt League provides a great recreational opportunity for all children in our town. We look forward to your continued support as we plan for the 2015 season.
The Alameda Free Library’s 2014 Summer Reading Program was a huge success. With more than 3,200 kids, teens, and adults participating in the Paws to Read program, this year’s number of participants exceeded all expectations.
We couldn’t have had this level of success without the help of our amazing sponsors. Many thanks for the generosity of the Friends of the Alameda Free Library. We wouldn’t have special programming at the library at all without their help and financial support. Thanks also to local Alameda businesses that made some of our prizes possible: Tucker’s Super-Creamed Ice Cream, Subpar Miniature Golf and Greer Family Mortuary.
We’d also like to thank the San Francisco Bay Ferry, the Oakland Athletics and the Alameda Recreation and Parks Department. By providing prizes for our summer reading programs, all these businesses and organizations provide the incentive many kids need to keep reading, learning and growing all summer long and they help remind teens and adults that reading is fun.