Coronavirus kindness: East Palo Alto council members, local volunteers deliver thousands of meals at food drive

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Wednesday, July 15, 2020
East Palo Alto council members, local volunteers deliver thousands of meals at food drive
In just three months, 400 volunteers have lined up in East Palo Alto, Calif. to hand out more than 120,000 meals to people in need at a food drive at the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula.

EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- We are highlighting the work people are doing to help Build a Better Bay Area in their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Thanks to volunteers in East Palo Alto, there are more than just meals given out at a nightly food drive.

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Helping others is a way that we can help ourselves.

At the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula in East Palo Alto, like the meals being passed out, people giving back are never in short supply.

"It has become a tough ticket within the city, if you want to call it that, to actually become a volunteer either at this location or our Redwood City location," Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula Senior Director of Operations James Harris said.

Even during a pandemic, in just three months, 400 volunteers have lined up to feed people in need.

Among the group, two former mayors of East Palo Alto and current city council members, Ruben Abrica and Lisa Gauthier, who show every weekday night that we're all in this together.

"People believed in me enough to elect me into office and it is my goal and my duty, I feel, to make sure that they are taken care of," Gauthier said. "So, when I come out here and I can make sure that they are being fed, it's the least that I can do."

"This is not about individuals, this is about families, neighborhoods and groups of people helping each other," Abrica said. "So, I am very proud and very excited every time I get the chance to come."

"It warms my heart," Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula Director of Volunteerism and Community Engagement Remi Sobomehin said. "It makes me feel like they understand what we're going through on the ground and what our community is facing when they're in their chambers talking. It feels like we are connecting and they are rallying and speaking for us."

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From the hands of the volunteers straight to the car, more than 120,000 meals have gone to Bay Area families, free of charge.

Food is donated by the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Each meal is prepared by local businesses who have seen their own struggles due to COVID-19

"The Greg St. Claire Avenir Restaurant Group have the ones that have been providing the chefs for us," Harris said. "They've closed their restaurants, yet they have supplied staffs to come here and cook for us to cook upwards of 2,000 meals each and every night."

A group is only as strong as the individuals.

That strength is on display in East Palo Alto.

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"If you have a need and you're hungry, we want to make sure that we are providing a meal to them and a service to them," Harris said. "It's super important that people feel like people care for them in this extremely difficult time."

Visit the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula's website for more information on the food drive and other services that they provide.

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