When specialty food manufacturers gathered for a Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January, they brought tons of product samples for vendors to taste. When the convention ended, truckloads of food were left over. Rather than let the food go to waste, one of the show organizers contacted a Solano County ministerial association and told them “if you can come and get it, it’s all yours,” according to Carmen Perry, facility planning manager for NorthBay Health Advantage.
Carmen and her family heard their pastor’s call for help that Sunday in January. “He said they needed a lot of manpower and volunteers on short notice to go into San Francisco and get the food or help distribute it.” Without hesitation, the Perry family signed up to help. Members of their church joined seven other churches, as well as county and military personnel, in bringing approximately 100,000 pounds of food from Moscone Center to Solano County. Once here, volunteers sorted the food into categories, such as canned goods, pastas, desserts and perishables. Volunteers bagged and boxed the food, while others delivered it to the eight distribution centers.
Carmen’s crew was assigned to bag the donated food. “We worked like an assembly line and created meals from what was there, like pastas and sauces, or pancake mix and syrups,” she says. Her husband, Kenneth, and son, Myles, delivered bags of food to those waiting in the church line or delivered it to the elderly or disabled waiting in their cars.
On that day, thousands turned out and the food was gone within hours, according to reports published in the Daily Republic.
The instantaneous outpouring of help that brought so many people together on such short notice left a big impression, not only on Carmen, but her 12-year-old son. “It was like a fellowship, all of us coming together for one common good – to feed other people,” says Carmen.