One day in 1983, Carolyn North spotted a man scrounging for food in a garbage can. It was an experience that moved her to create the Daily Bread Project.
She posted an ad in a local paper at the time, the Berkeley Gazette, asking for volunteers who wanted to put an end to hunger in the East Bay. About 30 people responded, and the Daily Bread Project was born.
Volunteers quickly discovered restaurants, bakeries, soup kitchens, supermarkets and shelters willing to donate food.
“The simplicity of Daily Bread’s mission – to put nutritious but unwanted food into the hands of those in need – was perfect, said Patrice Igneizi, who has been with the project for 17 years and is currently the group’s primary coordinator.
“Years later, without ever planning it, I was still delivering food; it had become a part of what I did and still do,” she said.
Now 22 years old, the project has 70 volunteers who pick up food from 40 different donors, including Whole Foods Market, Temescal Farmer’s Market and Larine on Fruitvale. Donations go to about 30 different agencies including A Safe Place, East Oakland Community Project and Salvation Army,
Many of the incoming volunteers are recruited through word of mouth.
Through the Daily Bread Project, other programs have been implemented such as the Milk for Kids Program, where shoppers pay for a 1/2-gallon of milk to be donated to a shelter.
Organizers, Igneizi and Carol Brill want to expand beyond baked goods, to include fresh fruits and vegetables. “Today, Daily Bread is a regular fixture at every Farmers’ Market, in Berkeley, Oakland, and Kensington,” said Igneizi. Project leaders are not paid and gas costs are absorbed by volunteers. The organization does not even have a bank account.
Daily Bread operates in Berkeley, Albany, Oakland, Kennsington, and Richmond. For information or to volunteer, contact Carol Brill at email@example.com or (510) 559-3138.