This Week’s Food Closet Needs and Volunteer Opportunities

This week’s news and requests. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. This week I want to share highlights of an email from Charlotte Coker. Charlotte is one of the two Food Closet’s (FC) long-time volunteer managers. Her email, sent to the FCs church liaisons, details alarming recent changes to the customer demographics – that is, customers now include previously middle income and middle income families. Families made up of single mothers/couples with 2 to 5 children. Each week 3 to 5 new families are signing up. Charlotte shares that often these folks “are ashamed to be there”. They feel they must explain their circumstances – job losses or two paychecks not stretching far enough now are typical explanations Importantly, as Charlotte continues, it is clear that the FCs mission is not solely to distribute food – but also to provide customer support in all manner of ways. This includes: consoling new customers with assurances (“ …there’s nothing to be ashamed of when you’re trying to provide for your family, and you need assistance along the way. I tell them that we are honored to help them” ) and sharing advice on how to best shop the FC and budget their cash for other needs. Finally, she emphasizes another goal of the FC is “to make sure that they leave with a smile and their heads held high”. At this season of Thanksgiving – our gratitude also extends to the volunteers of the FC for they sincerely aim nourish souls as well just bodies.

Volunteers Needed: Helping hands are needed at the Downtown Streets Food Closet. No food preparation skills are needed – the FC distributes free donated and predominantly prepackaged food to its customers. Needed skill set for a volunteer is a pleasant, patient person with good social skills. Fluency in Mandarin would be beneficial as well. High school students over 15 are welcome to serve too. All Covid protocols are strictly enforced. Volunteers must be vaccinated and boosted.

Available volunteer openings are:
Monday and Wednesday – 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.***
Tuesday and Thursday – 12:00 – 2:30 pm.***
Friday – 12:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Please contact Charlotte Coker at (408)591-7539 or for *** these days.
Contact Shirley Reiter at (650)704-9813 or for the other days.

Drop off donations at the Food Closet. The Diocese allows food pantries to remain open during Covid. All Saints Food Closet is taking precautions to protect staff, volunteers, customers and donors using a protocol from Second Harvest, the main Food Closet donor. The address and new hours are: 425 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto – M, T, W, F: 9 am-2:30 pm Thursday: 9 am to 2:30 pm (except 12 pm to 1 pm when closed for staff meeting ). Access via the blue side door that opens onto Hamilton Street. Please call ahead – (650) 325-3663 to let them know you are coming. Please do not drop off food after hours – it brings up a variety of concerns as people often congregate unsafely after hours to go through the food.

Donating by Check: You can also donate by check. Check donations will be used to purchase needed shortfall items. Please write a check to the Downtown Streets Team, and write in the memo line “For Food Closet”.
Checks can be mailed to:
Project Manager
Downtown Streets Team,
1671 The Alameda, Suite 306,
San Jose, CA 9512

Current Donations Requests

Food needs:
Quaker oats (not the packets)
15 oz canned or cupped fruits

Non-food items:
Ziplock bags both sandwich size
Paper towels
rubber bands