Starting in the month of May of 2022, the Bay Area Street Pantry program will be operating on Friday instead of Tuesday. The program is not changing any of the major components. It will still start at 11:30 A.M. PST at the Melrose Branch of the Oakland Public Library system, and we will still be handing out free food to the Bay Area community.
The Bay Area Street Pantry (BASP) is a charitable program that aims at ending both hunger and food insecurity. Prior to our Friday day launch, the program was handing out and average of135 bags of groceries to the Oakland, CA community. We estimate that we're helping approximately 300 individuals or more every week with the free food given out.
The BASP was started in 2019 with the goal of feeding the homeless and financially challenged citizens in the Bay Area. A small group of four individuals from our program went around the streets of Oakland to hand out food and any other supplies that were donated. Later that year, the BASP was able to partner with the Melrose Library Branch of the Oakland Public Library system thanks to their manager, Kate Hug. The partnership with library has provided a secure place, storage, supplies, and assistance with some financial aspects. The BASP also gained a partnership with the Alameda County Foodbank to receive large quantities of donated food to handout in 2019.
The BASP has never shut down, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have strived to give at least something to the community every week.
On May 6th, the BASP will move back to "clients choice". When the program first started, people were able to walk in and take what they wanted from the selection we provided. During the COVID-19 pandemic and with the restrictions in place, the BASP had to find a way to continue to serve the Bay Area without violating health regulations and we began giving away bags of groceries that we fulfilled with our volunteers. Now that most restrictions have been lifted and people are allowed to come back inside the library we are able to allow clients choice once more.
Clients choice is the best option to reduce waste in many ways. There is less food waste, because people choose only want they actually want and can use. There is also less paper waste, because we will not have to use so many bags. Many people like to bring their own bags and some people will only take enough to fill 1 bag versus the average 3 bags per person we handout now. With packing less bags, we will also save time and our volunteers will not have to rush.
Clients will be let in one-at-a-time to select what they like. There will be a path to follow as they make their selections. A set number of bags will also be created for curbside pick-up.