On March 19, Gov. Gavin Newsom directed all Californians to stay home except to go to an essential job or to shop for essential needs.
Alameda County Social Services swiftly defined the Feeding Ministry at Oakland’s First African Methodist Episcopal Church as an “essential service,” but they could only provide “takeout meals.”
Hot meals at the church site on Telegraph Avenue in North Oakland were replaced with a lunch bag including two sandwiches, fruit, chips, cookies/cake and water or juice. It took two weeks to adjust as the materials needed to prepare a takeout hot meal had to be purchased.
The impact of COVID-19 was quickly noticeable as the number of persons requesting a takeout meal increased by 25%.
On April 23, the San Francisco Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund awarded FAME Feeding Ministry a grant of $5,000, which aided seven families, including four adults and 11 children, who were added to the 60-65 persons who picked up a takeout meals
On May 27, the FAME Feeding Ministry received another grant of $10,000 from San Francisco Foundation, which helped support four more families including 13 children, as well as three seniors, two of whom are disabled.
Thanks to the generous funding provided by San Francisco Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Respond Fund, the First AME Feeding Ministry prepared and made available 1,157 meals during the month of May.
Volunteers delivered the meals to each of the families who were adopted, as well as the disabled seniors.
The First AME Feeding program, with the support of the San Francisco Foundation, continues to welcome all who are food challenged. The ministry is committed to providing a service that amplifies the spirit of Matthew 25:35 – “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
The senior pastor of the First AME Church at 3701 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland is Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry. Rev. Michael Mitchell is the feeding ministry coordinator.