Police say a 12-year-old boy and another teen, who are not residents of Alameda, are believed to be responsible for the crime. Over the weekend, police think they took a shovel and killed 11 of the 18 chickens that were being raised.
The chickens had become an important part of the Alameda Point Collaborative, which is a community of about 500 former homeless residents who are growing their own food and learning how to eat healthy.
The Growing Youth Project raises the chickens, uses the eggs for community breakfasts, and sells them to fund field trips. Some of the kids recently traveled to Pittsburg to talk about their project. The chickens that were killed were almost mature enough to begin laying eggs and that would have meant more income for the kids.
"I came and I saw a couple of them. I didn't understand what happened at first, I thought they were sick or whatnot, but when I [saw] the shovel and I was really, really disappointed. It's a terrible thing," said Alameda Point Collaborative volunteer Lamar Delandero.
When asked if she could tell the difference between one of their chicken eggs and the ones from the store, Alameda Point Collaborative resident Madison Akins said, "They taste better."
"I was sad...because they gave us lots of food in the morning to go to school," said resident Serenity Mahoney.
"It really taught them responsibility. They had to be here every day, feeding them, checking on them, and then when they would take the eggs and sell them to the farms, they were learning some business skills. When they take the eggs to the community breakfast every week, the whole community is learning about healthy eating, so the chickens did a lot," said Alameda Point Collaborative executive director Doug Biggs.
This youth project is more than just a chicken coop. It is the nucleus of the community that's teaching these young students and kids, how to be nurturing, how to eat healthy, and how to hone in their business skills. It's a lot like a 4H program.