If you donate to the Alameda County Community Food Bank it is the end of the line, or more specifically, the end of one line among many. On an average day an organization like Health Oakland on 35th Street gives food to around 300 people in need. It is a labor of love launched by Sharon Green-Peace, a retired San Francisco Muni bus driver who says she cannot stand around when she sees people in need, "Everyone gets a choice," Green-Peace said. "This way we eliminate the waste. So they take what they want."
It's also a need fulfilled county-wide by the food bank, which now has a need of its own. Not so much for food, but for volunteers. It is vacation season, and volunteer staffing has dropped by 17 percent. The food bank has too many perishable items and not enough hands to move them from the warehouse to the streets.
They need volunteers like Sarah Fletcher, a 15-year-old from the First Presbyterian Church of Livermore. She volunteered time on Monday to stuff boxes, "Got to put in vegetables and soups. And you're trying to make it really mixed. You're trying to think about the family who's eating it."
Green-Peace added, "There's starving people out there. These people are starving."
What we're really looking at here is a problem of logistics. Here are some numbers -- The food bank feeds about 49,000 people in Alameda County a week, which is approximately 12 million pounds of food a year, half of which is perishable.
As of Monday morning they had 1,000 volunteer slots unfulfilled. Right now they're looking for anybody to bring in a group of five people or more to help fill the boxes and get the food out to the people who desperately need it.
If you're interested in helping out, you can find more information here: http://www.accfb.org/volunteer.html