Allowing clients to choose the food they want to eat eliminates waste and provides a more respectful way to help those in need.
Five days a week, our van fans out throughout the Island to collect food from local grocers. Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Target, Lucky’s and Grocery Outlet have been supporting us for years.
Here’s a look at one day in the life of our Alameda Food Bank Van.
9:00 AM – Alameda Food Bank Warehouse
Our journey begins at the AFB warehouse where volunteers Jeff and Amy are busy preparing the van for today’s collections.
A father and daughter team, Jeff is a regular driver and Amy assists in the summertime when she’s back home from college. They’ve been volunteers for many years, along with mom Gayle.
Before they depart, there’s an important item that must first be loaded into the van: banana boxes! Rugged, strong and easily stackable.
9:30 AM – Safeway, Bay Farm Island
The first stop is Safeway at Bay Farm Island.
Jeff and Amy are greeted by Christina and Sara who point them towards three shopping carts filled with an impressive selection of quality food including bread, lettuce, salads and dry goods.
Jeff wheels the shopping carts out to the van, then heads back inside to collect additional items from the deli counter. Amy springs into action and tackles the next part of the operation: Sorting and Repacking. That’s where those banana boxes come into play.
As incoming items are sorted, key donation details such as store location, food weight and food type are logged for tracking purposes.
10:15 AM – Trader Joe’s, South Shore Center
The second stop of the day is Trader Joe’s at South Shore. Jeff parks the van in front of the delivery dock and waits patiently by the door to be granted entry.
Once inside, Trader Joe’s employees Marisol and Lien assist with the loading process, carrying out contributions from the store. Amy follows right behind with another wheeled dolly loaded with, you guessed it, banana boxes!
Like the Safeway store, Trader Joes has donated an impressive selection of fresh produce and other quality food items: produce, bread and deli items are some of the more popular choices with our clients.
11:00 AM – Safeway, South Shore Center
The final stop of the day is an easy, one-minute drive to the Safeway store located next door to Trader Joes. Jeff is greeted warmly by Jamaal as another round of donations makes their way to the van where they’re sorted and repacked.
With their collections complete and a van full of donations, Jeff and Amy head back to the AFB warehouse.
11:30 AM – Alameda Food Bank Warehouse
Back at the warehouse, Jeff and Amy work to unload all items from the van. Items such as dry goods are placed into storage for later use. Perishable items such as produce and fruit make a quick trip into refrigeration units.
In just a few hours, AFB has collected an amazing amount of donations from our partners.
Many thanks to the Father and Daughter team for another job well done! And as always, sincere appreciation to our partners Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Lucky’s, Target and Grocery Outlet for their gracious and ongoing support!