CityTeam Ministries Oakland distributed 250 bags of free food on June 26 during its first annual Summer Lunch Giveaway. While many low-income families receive food for their children during the out-of-school season when free or reduced lunch prices lunches are absent, volunteers received an eye-opening experience on the cultural and socio-economic challenges of the Downtown Oakland community.
"Going door-to-door and offering food was a new method of delivery for us, so we had no idea what to expect," said Alyssa Penman, Rescue Mission Manager and organizer of the event. "We want to get out from behind our walls and into the community, but trying something new is always scary. Thankfully, it went really smoothly."
Volunteers loaded trucks of bags containing a variety of "kid-friendly" foods and visited homes in the neighborhood spanning from Broadway to Castro St and from 7th Street up to San Pablo. At least 600 children live in this particular Downtown Oakland neighborhood, according to Penman.
For families who weren't home, a note written in English, Spanish, and Chinese was left behind informing them to claim their free bag of food at CityTeam.
Penman said that during their visit to the neighborhood homes, many of the volunteers saw firsthand the cramped living conditions of families on the edge of poverty.
However, the hard work of the groups was almost immediately rewarded.
Even before the team was done for the day, mothers were bringing their children over to the mission to receive food. The ministry also received an unexpected call from a satisfied family.
"Later that day, we received a phone call from a grateful family thanking us for the food. How wonderful to know that we have blessed someone's day!" said Penman
The next CityTeam Family Services in-reach event is the Back to School Backpack Giveaway August 21, 2004.
For more information, visit CityTeam Ministries Oakland's Web site, www.cityteam.org/oakland or contact Alyssa Penman at 510.452.3758 x13 or [email protected]