A weekly flea market in El Sobrante is providing more than just great deals to local residents. It’s also helping to connect unhoused residents in West Contra Costa County with critical supplies.
Every Saturday and Sunday, Pinole resident Vikki Noble and volunteers hold a “Benefit Flea Market” at the Moose Lodge parking at 4600 Appian Way in El Sobrante. The market runs both days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Twenty-five vendors participate, helping to pay rent for use of the parking lot. About 15 percent of vendor fees go toward the purchase of “survival kits” to distribute to local homeless residents. Every hour on the hour, a raffle is held that additionally helps to raise funds for supplies.
It’s part of Noble’s grand mission to make a difference in the lives of unhoused individuals. She’s the executive director of Second Chance A-Z Inc., a nonprofit she founded in September 2021.
“We believe that everybody needs and deserves a second chance, A through Z due to the economic hardships brought on by the pandemic,” Noble said. “Our nonprofit took on that name a Second Chance A-Z Inc., because we are dedicated to helping those who have fallen on hard times. They most definitely are in need of a second chance to help pull themselves up.”
After funds are raised, Noble’s nonprofit buys products to include in “survival kits” for people in need. The kits include hats, gloves, socks, pandemic masks, hand sanitizers, hand warmers and hygienic kits.
“Our goal is to supply and distribute 200 survival kits to 100 teens, 50 men and 50 women each month,” Noble said.
Fundraising efforts have also included a higher education scholarship worth $2,000 to deserving students who attend New Jerusalem Deliverance Center Ministries, based in Oakland.
Juan Nunez, owner of Juan’s Gym in Richmond and founder of God’s Creations, a local charity group, is one of the vendors at the “Benefit Flea Market” at the Moose Lodge.
“It is wonderful to see what Second Chance A-Z Inc. is doing to help the unhoused community here in West County,” Nunez said. “We need to be doing more things like this, where clubs and groups are working together to address these issues and getting more involved. Vikki’s organization has done an awesome job in helping out the unhoused community locally.”
People travel all over from the Bay Area to attend the Benefit Flea Market, says Noble.
“I remember one person came from Oakland on the BART and took two buses to get to our location on Appian Way,” she said. “This is a wonderful way to do community service and bringing the community together to being united to help our unhoused residents.”
The Benefit Flea Market will start again on Saturday, Jan. 8 and will continue on through Sunday, Dec. 11. For more information and to learn how to help, call Noble at (510) 880-9956.