Fresh Food for Families Initiative Delivers 200,000 Healthy Meals During Pandemic
DSAL, working together with the Sheriff's Office and ALL IN Alameda County, has delivered 200,000 healthy meals during the pandemic. This is a huge milestone for the community and another benchmark achieved as we work to keep the community healthy and safe through Community Capitals Policing.
Launched shortly after the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the meal delivery effort, called Fresh Food for Families, provides nutritious meals for home-bound seniors, medically vulnerable patients, and families experiencing food insecurity and hunger as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Meals are delivered by formerly incarcerated people in partnership with the Alameda County Probation Department. The initiative also pays struggling, local food businesses to produce up to 1,000 meals per week for delivery and distribution.
“By providing meals to families in need, we’re doing the work we signed up to do, which is to deter crime and create a better environment for everyone. Delivering 150,000 meals and building capacity to deliver 10,000 meals per week represent major milestones for our Community Capitals Policing initiative,” said Gregory Ahern, Sheriff, Alameda County.
Another milestone: The Fresh Food for Families effort has steadily increased meal production capacity to 10,000 meals per week. This means we’re feeding more families while also supporting more of our local food businesses to create and retain jobs and keep them in business.
“I am beside myself with joy and gratitude. My son was so excited, and he literally said, ‘This food is from heaven.’ Thank you so much.”
– Fresh Food for Families Recipient
“The grant really helps,” said Dawn Deardorf, Co-owner, Aurora Catering. “Knowing the income is there, that we’re doing something good for the community, and that we can bring back some of our staff—it’s a win-win-win all the way across the board.”
“The grant was a lifeline,” said Lashawn Raybon, Owner, I AM Café, “It let me keep my doors open. I’ve been able to bring in help on Saturdays, and it also gives me flexibility to buy the ingredients I need to so I can still offer my main recipes.”
None of this would be possible without Dig Deep Farms and the Dig Deep Farms Food Hub, which we launched in January 2020, just before the crisis hit.
The Fresh Food for Families initiative was made possible through seed funding from the Stupski Foundation, the Hellman Foundation, and the Community Development Block Grant program. The work is now being sustained by the Alameda County Social Services Agency’s Emergency Food Distribution Vendor Pool. Funds are now available to continue the Fresh Food for Families initiative through June.
The Emergency Food Production grant program is just one part of Community Capitals Policing, a 15-year-long effort to strengthen social cohesion, repair trust, and improve public safety through strategic investments in the community. Meals for the Emergency Food Production program are assembled at the 3,300-square-foot Dig Deep Farms Food Hub. The meals are then delivered by people reentering the community from incarceration through a unique partnership with the County’s Probation Department.
“COVID-19 has interrupted all of our lives, but for food insecure families, seniors, and other vulnerable populations, the pandemic has been especially difficult,” said Supervisor Wilma Chan, Alameda County Board of Supervisors. “Social determinants of health, like food security, nutrition, and social isolation, have major impacts on people’s health and emotional wellbeing. I’m proud of the combined efforts of our partners and local food businesses for reaching these incredible milestones.”