The Mercy Brown Bag Program continues to expand its reach to seniors in need following the addition of its Mobile Grocery Truck last summer.
The Mobile Grocery Truck now serves seven buildings throughout Oakland and Hayward, notes Mercy Brown Bag Program Director Krista Lucchesi. More than 375 seniors come to the sites to freely shop for fresh, nutritious food items, she said.
“Each month we are adding new sites and will have our schedule filled by May,” Krista said. “We do not have spaces for all of the buildings we have been asked to service.”
Progress in Assisting Seniors in Need
Krista and her team are excited about the program’s progress, and they continue to work to make operations even smoother.
“Our volunteers are thrilled to help with the truck and have been extremely faithful,” Krista said. She added that as the program continues to grow the goal is to serve 2,000 seniors.
The Mobile Grocery Truck, created by Mercy Retirement & Care Center to get nutritious groceries directly to seniors in need, can pull into parking lots or park right along city blocks to distribute food items. Automated shelving lowers to allow seniors to shop for food items like lean proteins, whole grains and fresh produce at no charge.
For more than 35 years, volunteers with the Brown Bag Program have distributed fresh produce, canned goods and other groceries to seniors through 17 sites around Alameda County. Last year, the program distributed more than a million pounds of groceries to nearly 5,000 seniors.
Addressing Senior Food Insecurity
The problems of senior hunger and food insecurity are significant in Alameda County. According to Census data, nearly 40,000 adults over the age of 60 survive on incomes of less than 200 percent of the poverty level, Krista noted.
“Any way that we can help to get food to these older adults we look for a way to provide it or partner with others if we are unable,” Krista said. “This also helps them to stretch their dollars so they are more likely to be able to keep their housing and reduce their stress.”
To learn more about how you can support the Mercy Brown Bag Program and other initiatives, visit our Ways to Give page.