Mother Wright's family continues her legacy

December 29, 2009 7:03:00 PM PST
One of the Bay Area's most well-known humanitarians died last year, but her memory and her work live on.

Mary Ann Wright, fondly known as Mother Wright, fed the poor in Oakland for 27 years. A devout Catholic, she says she had a vision from God telling her to help the hungry and homeless.

She started by spending her Social Security check on her mission. From that humble beginning, Mother Wright's efforts attracted attention and donations. She gave hundreds of homeless bags of groceries each day. This time of year was her busiest.

Mother Wright's daughter, Joel Wright, her grandson Illya and a small, but dedicated staff are continuing the food giveaways. At a warehouse on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland Tuesday afternoon, dozens of people of all races and ages lined up for bags containing macaroni and cheese, nuts, bottled water and other nutritious and non-perishable items.

Joel Wright says one of her mother's last wishes was to turn the 58,000 square foot warehouse into a free grocery store so that the needy would not have to stand outside in a line, but could come in and shop with dignity. The idea is to allow each person to select a certain number of items each day. A local architectural firm has agreed to convert the warehouse, but it will be an expensive undertaking. The Mary Ann Wright Foundation is fortunate to have a number of sponsors.

This coming Sunday, January 3, the Raiders will sponsor a food giveaway at their season finale against Baltimore. The team has supported the Mary Ann Wright Foundation for years. The team is asking fans to bring canned goods to the game. A portion of ticket sales will also go to the foundation. Team Executive John Herrera says many of the players come from low-income backgrounds and support the Raider's community efforts.


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