Our Mercy Brown Bag Program is getting the word — and the groceries — out to more seniors than ever before.
On April 19, Oakland city officials participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Mercy Brown Bag Mobile Grocery Truck. The event took place at Mercy Retirement & Care Center during Senior Hunger Awareness Month.
In addition, a new website recently launched to share news about the Mercy Brown Bag Program.
Feeding Seniors Throughout the County
Since 1982, volunteers have given out groceries to local seniors with incomes below the poverty line. Today the program distributes more than 1 million pounds of food each year at 17 distribution locations throughout Alameda County.
Program organizers spearheaded the creation of the new delivery truck in response to requests from senior adults who were unable to reach distribution sites due to health problems or limited funds for transportation.
Two local organizations — the Thomas J. Long Foundation and the Carl Gellert & Celia Berta Gellert Foundation — provided grants for a two-year period to fund the new truck, which began service earlier this month.
Convenient New Delivery System
The truck, which was custom-built for the needs of the Mercy program, can pull into parking areas in senior communities or park along city blocks. The truck’s awnings rise and shelving lowers automatically, enabling seniors to shop right outside their residences for grocery staples including fresh produce, lean proteins, milk and whole grains.
The shelves are positioned for easy access by individuals using wheelchairs or walkers, and it has a cooler for perishable items. The truck supplies food for as many as 300 people at a time.
Eventually, the Mercy Brown Bag Mobile Grocery Truck is expected to deliver almost 420,000 meals each year to about 2,500 low income senior adults. Alameda County is home to some 200,000 people over the age of 65, and Elder Care Alliance President and CEO Adriene Iverson noted that the Mercy Brown Bag Program plays an important role in fighting hunger among seniors.
With the new mobile delivery truck and a new website to get the word out, the Mercy Brown Bag Program is helping fight the significant problem of food insecurity.