The Alameda Food Bank was founded in 1977 by a group of concerned local citizens who saw the importance of a source of free food in the community for those in need. AFB initially operated out of a closet in the back room of a church for a few days each month, serving an average of 35 individuals per month.
As word of the food bank’s services spread within the community, the number of recipients and volunteers steadily increased. By 2017, more than 150 volunteers were serving over 2,000 families each year comprising about 5,500 individuals. That number surged during the federal government shutdown in late 2018/early 2019 as local Coast Guard families and other federal employees turned to us for help when their paychecks were held up for weeks.
The extraordinary impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihood of so many Islanders caused an explosion in need in early 2020. The number of families seeking our help jumped tenfold from about 800 a month in 2019 to almost 8,000 per month by mid-2020.
The increased demand and need for social distancing necessitated a relocation from our 2,200-square-foot distribution center at Atlantic and Constitution to our 10,000-square-foot warehouse on Alameda Point where we created a drive-through service.
Throughout our history, the community’s acceptance and support of our mission has been evident in the generous donations we receive and the commitment of our volunteers. Local markets donate fresh surplus food and our local mail carriers and Alameda Scouts conduct major food drives on our behalf each year. Though started on a shoestring, the Alameda Food Bank is now recognized as one of Alameda’s primary social service organizations.