My networking compadres from the Better Referral Network and I volunteered recently at the Alameda County Community Food Bank where we bagged and boxed produce for local families. We learned that in this increasingly expensive place where we live, $86,000 enables a family of four to just—and barely—scrape by.
One in three children in Alameda County (which includes Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville, and Alameda in the San Francisco Bay Area) goes hungry each day. We donated our time and energy to honor our chapter’s mission to give back to our community—to walk our talk.
I am certainly not the first person to write that 2016 has been a dreadful, dismal, frightening as fuck year politically. You don’t need me to rant here or get specific about what you already know.
The election of he-who-must-not-be-named undermines all of what I hold to be good and right and true.
Since the initial shell shock has worn off, I’ve been trying to find my bearings. It’s not been easy. We have entered a new era that is not business as usual. Like many people I know, I’m examining where I want to contribute my energy and money to plant seeds for change.
Here’s what’s been reinforced repeatedly since the election: We benefit from being in community. We cry on each other’s shoulders and we also support and inspire one another to persevere. As Rebecca Solnit writes in Hope in the Dark, “Hope is the story of uncertainty, of coming to terms with the risk involved in not knowing what comes next, which is more demanding than despair, and, in a way, more frightening. And immeasurably more rewarding.”
We don’t know what will unfold in the next four years. It’s all too easy to invent worst-case scenarios. I believe that going despondent is a copout. This moment demands we find the courage to respond to what’s present.
Along with other volunteers, my group helped sort 21,371 pounds of produce yesterday, the equivalent of 17,809 meals for our community. Alameda County Community Food Bank’s goal is to end hunger in our area by 2018. That’s an inspiring, exciting goal and one I plan to contribute by donating my time and money.
I’m curious: What small acts do you do to benefit your community? How do you plan to live “stronger together?”
I’d love to hear your stories below.