Lively jazz, an Oakland organization dedicated to empowering people through music, has partnered with the West Oakland Food Pantry to bring live music to people waiting in line for food in the pantry. The series is called Pickup Sessions and the first official performance will feature Black London, a collective of Kev choice, Mike Blankenship and Howard Wiley.
Performances are designed to lift the spirits of those who line up for groceries and other essentials and turn that experience into a “worthy musical celebration,” said Lyz Luke, director of Living Jazz, in a press release. The first event will take place on Saturday between 11:15 am and 2:00 pm on 10th Street in Peralta and Campbell in the Lower Bottoms neighborhood of Oakland, a neighborhood known as the center of blues, jazz, funk, soul, and R&B on the west coast .
Luke came up with the idea for pickup sessions after COVID-19 forced Living Jazz to fire dozens of musicians, and while she was in quarantine, she noticed a long line of people for the West Oakland Food Pantry lounging around her block and had nothing to do but wait.
Established in 2007, the West Oakland Food Pantry is what many consider to be a food safety net, distributing about 50,000 pounds of food and supplies to about 2,500 people a week.