Food drives are popular during the holidays, but people are hungry year-round.
Aware of this need, Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore are collaborating with local food providers and the faith community to staff collection barrels at dozens of convenient locations for the Feed Tri-Valley Food Drive from now through July 31.
"We are an affluent area, yet we do have huge needs for food," Pleasanton Human Services Commissioner Brock Roby said.
More than 350,000 meals a year are served to people in need in the Tri-Valley, according to Open Heart Kitchen, which serves meals at churches in Pleasanton and Livermore.
"Hunger affects more than the just the homeless," said Becky Hopkins, interim assistant to the Pleasanton city manager. "With the cost of living so high in the Tri-Valley, it impacts working families who just can't make ends meet every month."
She noted that food providers, such as Open Heart Kitchen, consistently struggle to maintain adequate food supplies during the summer, the impetus for this food drive during the summer months.
Roby, who has been on the Human Services Commission for seven years, recalled a few years ago when the same entities cooperated to establish the food locker now at the Operations Services Center on Busch Road in Pleasanton. The idea came up at a roundtable discussion with nonprofit agencies that provide food to the needy.
"Part of the commission's role is to find what needs they are seeing out there and what help and assistance they need," Roby explained. "We advise the City Council of Pleasanton on the needs we see and any opportunity to fund some of those needs."
The agencies said what would really help them in their mission to feed those in need would be a place to store fresh produce as well as frozen foods so they never had to turn down donations from grocery stores or farmers.
"The city of Pleasanton stepped up and said it had some room at the operations center," Roby recalled. "That's how it began to come together."
The location was ideal, with utility hookups, security in place and a gate that could be adjusted for the food agencies to have access to the industrial-sized, walk-in refrigerator and freezer units.
"The beautiful thing, when we have a project like this, is we combine the agencies that are doing good and the cities with a desire to help," Roby said. "We are fortunate to be in a city like Pleasanton that has a Human Services Commission that exists simply to be able to allocate funds and attention to where they are needed."
Feed Tri-Valley collection sites
City Hall, 123 Main St.
Fremont Bank, 6654 Koll Center Pkwy.
Fusion 3 Salon, 722 Main St.
Gene's Fine Foods, 2803 Hopyard Road
Gingerbread Preschool, 4333 Black Ave.
New Leaf Market, 3550 Bernal Ave.
Aquatic Center, 4455 Black Ave.
Library, 400 Old Bernal Ave.
Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd.
Raley's, 5420 Sunol Blvd.
Safeway stores on Santa Rita and on Bernal
Towne Center Books, 555 Main St.
Valley Bible Church, 7106 Johnson Drive
Workday, 6230 Stoneridge Mall Road
Clorox, 4900 Johnson Drive
Kaiser Permanente, 7601 Stoneridge Drive