Helping end hunger for Vallejo area residents


Interview with Ozcat Radio, FM 89.5 with Dr. G and Mis Demeanor

Posted by Henry Buggs on December 8, 2011 at 2:25 AM

On Thursday December 1, 2011 Ben Buggs met "Dr. G" and "Mis Demeanor" at Vallejo's Ozcat radio, 89.5. A fine time was had with this enthusiastic supporter of Faith Food Fridays - we were so glad to meet you!!

This is an outline of the interview that took place....

Dr. G - Tell me about Faith Food Fridays?

BB - Faith Food Fridays is a new outreach ministry that started in June of this year and provides free food and groceries to Vallejo-area residents every Friday from 4-6pm at 826 Solano Ave., near the Curtola Parkway intersection.

Dr. G - How did Faith Food Fridays get started?

BB -My wife and I moved to Vallejo from Berkeley in 2008 and as we got to know the community, I kept meeting people who were struggling financially.

Not only that, but it became apparent that, as the months went by, they were continuing to experience hardship and actually suffering more as time passed instead of improving as you would normally expect. We started doing research and were amazed at what we found – Vallejo is very underserved in terms of food pantries available to the general public for weekly help.

It really seemed to be bad around the beginning of this year, so in about May I really felt in my heart that we had to do something and decided that providing food to the hungry would be the best way to start.

Once people have their basic needs met, they’re able to function to look for work or be an asset to their community.

Dr. G - How does it work / how is it funded?

BB - We’re members of Faith Bible Church of Vallejo and we proposed Faith Food Fridays as an outreach ministry to the Pastor and staff there and they wholeheartedly supported it. We believe that one of our many responsibilities is to show God’s love to everyone we come in contact with – and how better to start than our own neighbors.

The wonderful members have donated time, money, food and prayers for support.

We then reached out to whatever agencies we thought could help us and many have. We are in partnership now with the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano – they provide fresh vegetables, fruit, and other items. We’ve made a wonderful connection with Adrienne Waterman’s Food Rescue organization that has provided us with hundreds of pounds of freshly harvested Vallejo produce….

We participated in Grocery Outlet’s July Hunger project and handed out literally thousands of flyers that helped get the initial word out.

Dr. G - How’s it been going?

BB - Since June, we’ve served 4000 individuals, an average of 60 families per week and have come face to face with the growing “Food Insecure” phenomena in today’s U.S. families that an MSNBC article referred to today.

Indeed, food banks across the country are seeing large increases in the numbers of people looking for help.

Last year food pantry usage nationally jumped 46 percent to 37 million people, according to hunger relief charity Feeding America. And the crowds haven’t let up.

Dr. G - What challenges have you faced?

BB - We’re basically on a shoestring budget and completely volunteer powered, so doing fundraising while attempting to navigate the start-up waters is a big challenge but the biggest challenge is making sure we get the word out to make sure that everybody who needs our services or can contribute in some way knows about us.

While we have been HUGELY blessed by our church family’s unselfish donations and time commitments Pastor Reuel Calica, Pastor Bob, Charlie and Elisha – I could name names for the next 30 minutes -- have been marvelous supporters and we realize we now need to devote some time to soliciting larger grants to ensure we can continue to meet the Vallejo area needs for the long-term.

Dr. G - What is your background?

BB - I’m originally from the Midwest – Muncie, Indiana and came out to California to attend the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

My past volunteer work at two other food pantries – one in the Sacramento area -- gave me a basic understanding of how they worked and are able to help people meet one of their most basic needs – which in turn, creates a better community that results in increasingly positive results for those individuals, our Vallejo community and beyond.

Dr. G - What would you like to tell our listeners today?

BB - That Faith Food Fridays serves free food groceries, clothing, shoes and some personal care items each Friday from 4-6pm at 826 Solano Ave., near the Curtola Parkway intersection.

We’re here to be a blessing to the community – to literally show them God’s love by helping them get through hard financial times and be an encouragement to them to hang in there.

People can contribute food by dropping off at the church’s location across the street on Sundays between 8am-1:30pm – or by calling me at (510) 978-2396.

You can also visit our website to contribute online and don’t forget to FRIEND US ON FACEBOOK!!

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