First of all, I thank the Most High for making June 5th a day of giving, a giveaway for groceries and necessities, a success. It was quite amazing to see all sectors of our Oakland communities come together to make this event a fruitful and rewarding endeavor at the Ralph Bunche School and de Fremery Park in West Oakland from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
It was a volunteer-inspired effort that I describe as ‘Comm-Unity’ which simply means unity because it doesn’t matter which part of town you are from. Whether a volunteer identifying as a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Catholic, or an unbeliever, it was just important that they all have a reason and a common goal, namely to serve others in need.
The participation of the former prisoners was remarkable. Some members of this section of the ward came with their families and children and volunteered with business people and clergy to feed families in need.
The rows of vehicles extended for more than a mile and a half. More than 900 vehicles that showed the Post newspaper coupon or registered at the website address were presented with boxes of food and accessories. More than 200 volunteers loaded each vehicle after giving each driver a choice of 52 different groceries and household cleaners on different pallets. Some older residents without vehicles were also supplied. The rest of the food and supplies were distributed to non-profit organizations that serve those in need.
Special greetings to the Oakland Post Newspaper Group, Trybe, Deeply Rooted, Ronald Muhammad, Ear Hustle, John Ya Ya Johnson, Missy Percy, Jamil Wilson, Attorney Anne Wells, ROC’s Richard Corral, Lee Oliveres, Jesus P. Peguero, Ricky “ Styles “Ricardo, Paul Redd, Savior Charles, OG drivers Arnold Torres, Gabe Zuniga, Rudy Yanez, Rolando Coffman; Janelle Marie Charles from Epsilon Phi Zeta, Mrs. Marsha Woodfork from Zeta Amicae from the Epsilon Phi Zeta, the Black Firefighters Association, Felicia Bryant, Mr. Fab’s Dope Era Clothing Store, Cesar Cruz’s Homie’s Empowerment, The Oakland Gumbo Cultural Group, Amina Nicole , Queen Johnson, Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, Walter Culp and all West Side Missionary Baptist Church staff who helped with organization, rentals / storage, equipment rentals, insurance costs, obtaining permits, food donations, refrigerated trucks and cash donations, and purchases such as walkie-ins. Talkies, pallet trucks, forklifts, mobile toilets, workers, social media posts, and volunteer recruitment.
Several elected officials including District 3 City Councilor Carroll Fife, clergymen, community leaders, community investors, and local entertainers supported them by volunteering to help our community families in need.
We will continue to work with the Oakland Post Newspaper Group to make A Day of Giving on June 5th a model for future giveaways of necessities, including boxes of oatmeal, fruits and vegetables including corn, green beans , Pinto Beans, Chili Beans, Peas, Pears, Peas and Carrots, Potato Chips, Goldfish and Animal Crackers, Zoo Crackers, Cheez-Its, Mixed Fruit Mugs, Granola Bars, Macs and Cheese, Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Canned Pears, Canned Peaches, Gallons of Olive Oil, Whole Chicken , various cold cuts (roast beef, turkey, semi-hard cheese), mixed nuts, Belvita breakfast biscuits, Ritz crackers, canned chicken, spaghetti, whole grain and white noodles, dry pinto beans, bottled water, canned tuna, impossible burgers, masks, gallons of bleach, detergent , Surface cleaner, large rolls of toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, toothbrushes, baby wipes, dishwashing detergent, shower gel, tooth silk and peanut butter.
I was touched by the tears and screams of joy from some families and children as they were showered with boxes of groceries and detergents that literally loaded their vehicles. One mother said she was used to getting a bag or box of groceries for a day or a week, but she never dreamed that she would get enough groceries and cleaning supplies for months.
I pray that this sustainable food supply approach, inspired by the guidance of Ms. Egypt Ina Marie King, will shine as a beacon of hope, pride and promise before our Almighty God. Nothing is greater than the power of God, and when our hearts are set to serve others freely, then we praise God.
I thank Rev. Ken Chambers and the Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) for coordinating a pop-up drop-in clinic in a tent to provide COVID-19 vaccinations during our food raffle.
Common Unity is more than a slogan. It is actually showing what it means to be one with the promise and the actual example of oneself. As a volunteer known as “Mr. Fab “, said:” Community is nothing more than common unity. “