By Mike Kinney
It truly takes a village.
For an eighth consecutive year this morning, a program involving volunteers from nearly a dozen Contra Costa County religious organizations began delivering boxes of food to local schools.
The annual Food for Thought program aims to equip students who rely on federally-funded or reduced-price meals provided by schools remain properly fed during the winter holiday break.
Food for Thought has grown from providing 90 of the most vulnerable students to 350.
Every student and his or her family, totaling about 1,800 individuals, will receive “two large boxes of produce–fresh fruits and vegetables, canned chicken and tuna; dried beans, rice, pasta, oatmeal; jars of peanut butter, breads, and a fresh turkey for the winter holiday meals,” according to organizers from Richmond’s Temple Beth Hillel.
It’s part of a collaboration Temple Beth Hillel developed with Let’s Feed the Kids (LFTK), a coalition of congregations led by Wendy Neale that includes Shell Ridge Community Church, Congregation B’nai Tikvah, Grace Presbyterian Church (Walnut Creek), Shared Ministries of Pittsburg and Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church (Concord). Hope Lutheran of El Sobrante independently joined the food program. The program has grown to include Chinese Church for Christ, Hope Lutheran, Easter Hill, Open Door United Methodist, Islamic Society of WCC, the Sikh Temple of El Sobrante-Gurudwara Sahib, and White Pony Express.
Volunteers from these groups spent the last three days at Temple Beth Hillel, 801 Park Central, preparing hundreds of boxes of food for delivery to schools. Today, we joined the food caravan as food boxes were delivered to King Elementary School at 4020 Florida Ave. Today, a total of 65 volunteers helped in the effort.
Volunteers from all congregations share in the financing, organizing, and food distribution.
“We have congregations of every faith imaginable helping us,” said Neil Zarchin, president of the Temple Beth Hillel Board. “It’s community at its best.”