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Alamedans Pitch In at Thanksgiving

Many thanks to the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and community members who pitched in for the canned food drive benefiting the Alameda County Food Bank.

Near Park Street and Lincoln Avenue, for instance, Nathaniel Basco and his sister Graciela Basco loaded up bags of donated items as the rain came down on Saturday morning, November 20.

At the Alameda Food Bank, more than 600 turkeys have been collected for the holiday. But requests for about 170 turkeys and hams for Christmas still need to be filled.

To see what other items are most in demand during the holidays and other ways to support the Alameda Food Bank, go to the organization’s website.

And have a great Thanksgiving!

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Alameda Backyard Growers Get Organized

The first meeting of Alameda Backyard Growers, held last week at High Street Station coffeehouse, was quite a success.

“We counted about 30 people in attendance and received 23 completed gardening surveys,” report Amanda MacLean and Janice Edwards, organizers of the event.

According to Amanda and Janice, of those who turned out for the kick-off:

- 9 of 23 people were relatively new to gardening (less than two years experience)

- 3 of 23 had 2-10 years of experience and

- 11 of 23 had 10+ years of experience (about half the group!).

The majority of those surveyed, 18 out of 23, are interested in growing fruits and vegetables for themselves, family and friends, and they also want to learn how to garden or garden better. Many also would like to meet people in the community and grow food to share with non-profits that serve low-income Alameda residents, such as the Alameda Food Bank.

The backyard-gardening group has a website and can be reached at alamedabackyardgrowers@gmail.com.

“People are growing an amazing variety of fruits and vegetables here in Alameda, and the group generated lots of ideas for sharing gardening information and skills as well as for exchanging produce and recipes.” Amanda and Janice said.

“We are now in the process of figuring out possible events and workshops for the next couple of months.” The group sends a special thanks to guest speaker Paul Russell, executive director of the Alameda Food Bank.

Paul told the group that last year, two staff members and 50 volunteers distributed nutritious food, much of it fresh produce, to an average of 1,350 Alameda residents per month — and the need is growing.

Residents with surplus fruit on their trees or an abundance of vegetables should consider sharing some with the food bank, 1900 Thau Way.

A member of Alameda Backyard Growers, Christine Jones, will be heading the group’s donations and can be reached at rcjdwj@comcast.net.

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Turkeys Needed in Town

The community is in need, according to the hard-working folks at the Alameda Food Bank. Fortunately, folks like members of the Alameda Soccer Hooligans have responded.

They collected more than 20 frozen turkeys and other food items on Sunday, November 15, and they plan to keep collecting.

Over the past two years, demand at the Alameda Food Bank has grown from about 3,000 individuals to 5,000 today. And the bad economy means that as people run out of unemployment benefits, the need for food will continue to rise.

But there’s something you can do – pitch in.  If you can stop by a department store, pick up a frozen turkey and some canned goods.  Then head over to the food bank, which is at 1900 Thau Way, off Eagle Avenue, on the West End.

On Tuesday, November 17, for instance, Lucky Supermarket on Marina Village Parkway had frozen turkeys for about $25 each. They also had bags of non-perishable items for $10 and $20.

When this blogger bought a couple birds, the Lucky staff gave me a gift card to say thanks.

That’s the spirit!

The best times to drop food off are between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, November 20 or Monday, November 23; from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, November 21; and from 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 24.

Paul Russell, director of the food bank, says donations are much appreciated after Thanksgiving, too.

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Join the Haunted Food Drive!

For trick-or-treaters looking to experience an encounter with a very special Halloween spirit, Alameda resident Lois Baptiste has “the” spot in town: the Alameda Food Bank barrel at 908 Lincoln Avenue, between Wood and Ninth streets.

This is a critical time for many families on the Island, and Baptiste will reward generous trick-or-treaters who stop by from 4 to 8 p.m. with some special goodies.

The food bank says these items are most needed: cans of beef stew, fruit, chili with beef, tuna and corn, as well as one-pound bags of rice.

Other drop-off points include the Alameda Free Library Main Branch, Alameda Marketplace, Bank of Alameda on Park Street, and Color Me Mine at Alameda Town Centre.

The Alameda Food Bank gives food to low-income Alamedans throughout the year and says it is “woefully short” on turkeys for Thanksgiving. To donate a turkey, call 510-523-5850.

And thanks to all the ghosts and goblins who donate on Halloween and during the holidays.