Having adequate healthy food is critical for students to succeed in school. The Berkeley Food Network/BUSD grocery program is making a difference in food security in our community, and Berkeley Schools Volunteers are a key part of the program’s success.
This program, initiated by Office of Family Engagement & Equity Specialist Jocelyn Foreman, is a partnership between BUSD, the Berkeley Food Network (BFN) and the Schools Fund’s Berkeley Schools Volunteers. BFN supplies fresh produce and healthy shelf stable foods and our volunteers deliver these groceries week in and week out to our school sites and to families’ homes.
Our current Grocery Delivery Team includes 38 volunteers, 23 who currently deliver regularly and 15 who fill in when needed. Two volunteers who joined the team this school year are Spike Alper and Natalie Malam. They deliver groceries each week to families and find it to be a rewarding experience.
“It’s such a basic thing to bring nutritious food to people with limited resources,” says Spike. “It makes me feel good and I know it’s appreciated.”
For Natalie, the work connects her to the community. “I want to live in a caring and supportive community, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to volunteer in this way. Some families are settling here from other countries. I’ve been there before, and it can be difficult. This is a way to add a positive and welcoming act into their week.”
Carol Perez, the Office of Family Engagement & Equity Specialist for Washington and Oxford, is grateful to have this program to support the families she and her colleagues serve. “Some of the families at our schools lack sufficient access to food. Obstacles include inability to afford the high cost of food, lack of access to transportation and/or inability to leave their home to shop. This program provides an opportunity to lessen these challenges and build relationships with the school and broader community.” Carol is shown in the photo above (on right), with volunteer Kitty Keenan.
Berkeley Schools Volunteers is proud to be part of this important program, and we appreciate the dedication of our Grocery Delivery Volunteer Team!