A number of generous volunteers made this our busiest and most productive December yet.
On December 15, Food of God prepared a hot lunch for Hope Task Force‘s Day of Service For Our Unhoused Neighbors at the West Oakland Youth Center. This event, spearheaded by inspiring community organizer Free Brown, gave us the opportunity to connect with people from all over Oakland. It was a pleasure to partner with so many inspiring service organizations like Lava Mae, Simply the Basics, and Lifelong Medical Care. A special thank you to our team of volunteers who spent several days working to make a hot meal for 300 possible!
We had a great time at our annual lunch and holiday giveaway on December 20, 2018. We enjoyed the holiday spirit with our community as we distributed clothes, hygiene items, and handwritten cards. Many grateful individuals and families stopped by to pick up some much-needed supplies before the holidays. Once again it was a group effort to bring all the pieces together and we’re grateful to everybody who pitched in!
What better time to share with those in need than Christmastime? At Food of God, we know that the winter months and corresponding holidays bring extra stress, both physical and emotional, to folks experiencing homelessness and other life challenges. That’s why we make a special effort to make the holidays a little brighter. It starts with that ubiquitous symbol of Christmas – a Christmas tree. Throughout the month of December, a “sock tree” in the narthex of Plymouth Church collected the congregation’s donations of new socks, hats, scarves, and other winter wear.
On December 20th, volunteers gathered at Plymouth to add these donations to fifty bags of toiletries generously provided by our new partner, Simply the Basics, whose mission is to help people meet their most basic needs with dignity so they can focus on greater goals. Once completed, each bag provided not just the basics but also some special warmth and holiday cheer.
On December 21st, we served our usual hot lunch in Bishop Begin Plaza and distributed the gift bags. Our guests were very grateful to receive their bags, which were for some perhaps the only gift they will receive this holiday season. It was a very busy day, as we also gave out the last of our City Paks and some donated clothing. We think everyone went home happy, from the wonderful volunteers who put this all together to the folks whose new pair of socks will help keep their feet dry this winter.
Thank you all so much for attending our annual potluck dinner last Friday. Everyone enjoyed the chance to mingle with other volunteers, meet new folks, and welcome our guest speaker, Colleen Miller, from Covenant House, Oakland. We shared a wonderful variety of foods, wines, and desserts. Thank you for helping make our annual event a success.
As you know, Food of God is working to establish a strong handshake with Covenant House. Their mission is to take in homeless youths between the ages of 18 – 24. This year FOG will once again have an intern from Covenant House who will either help in the kitchen or on the line on a weekly basis. These interns learn essential skills in food management which will help them in applying for a job.
When you’re homeless, where do you store your belongings? The CityPak project aims to “provide safe, convenient and versatile backpacks uniquely designed to meet the needs of the homeless.” Food of God has partnered with CityPak to give 100 of our homeless guests backpacks this winter.
Each backpack given out by Food of God will have this patch ironed on to it as a remembrance
We have already met half of our fundraising goal thanks to a fundraising luncheon at Plymouth Church that raised $750!
Donors enjoy lunch at a Plymouth Church fundraiser
These backpacks have multiple special features for the homeless, such as security loops, reflective strips, and a built-in poncho. You can sponsor one for just $15! We greatly appreciate your checks sent to Food of God c/o Plymouth Church, 424 Monte Vista Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611.
The food, clothing, and friendship that we offer at Food of God are an important part of alleviating the homelessness crisis in the Bay Area. Public awareness of and focus on this issue is also very much needed. We are glad to hear that on June 29th, 2016, Bay Area media organizations will present a flood of articles offering coverage of this crisis. Read this article to learn more.
Food of God continues to serve a hot, nutritious meal every Thursday even though we have had to move our serving location. You may have noticed that Bishop Begin Plaza is under construction, but we are still serving on the north side of the plaza at 22nd St. and Martin Luther King Jr. Way! The City of Oakland is busy reconstructing the site and promises that they will be finished by late June. Once finished, FOG will enjoy a new, beautiful space with large oak trees, new tables and benches…everyone will be able to enjoy the park and our meal as well! Thank you City of Oakland for this public beautification!
Food of God knows that our guests have needs beyond food. That is why for the 3rd year we invited members of the community to donate items for our holiday gift bags. Food of God volunteers filled the 100 bags during our Fill-A-Bag gathering at Plymouth Church. There was a wonderful sense of community as the volunteers filled the bags from the teeming tables. We are especially grateful to the modest congregation of San Lorenzo Community Church in San Lorenzo, CA, for collecting socks on their altar for the weeks leading up to our event.
On December 17 we distributed clothing, including handmade scarves and hats, toiletries, dental supplies, ponchos, and personal hygiene items. For children, Food of God donated games, stuffed animals, warm clothing, school supplies, and books. Local stores helped provide these gifts. The bags themselves were generously donated by the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB). Our guests, who didn’t expect to receive such items from a feeding program, were touched. For many of our guests these gifts were the only ones they received during the holiday season. To view more photos of this event, please visit our Facebook page.
Food of God decided to revamp their presentation of Plymouth council dinners. On the second Tuesday of every month (except August) FOG plans and prepares a hot meal for all the council members. This year FOG decided to add more “flavor” to the menus and spice it up with catchy themes. It has been a challenging and fun adventure. FOG started the church year with “currying flavors” in November and in December served winter soups and salad. January highlighted a “boar’s feast” and February a Valentine’s pasta. March will bring an Irish stew and April a meal all about lemons!