The Berkeley Food Pantry is a non-profit organization providing monthly bags of nutritious and delicious emergency groceries to Berkeley and Albany residents in need. Through the combined efforts of two paid part-time staff, a core of 50 dedicated volunteers, the Alameda County Community Food Bank, community members, local businesses, and the USDA Emergency Food Assistance Program, we are able to provide enough emergency groceries for 3 days or 9 meals to over 2,000 Berkeley and Albany residents monthly. The Berkeley Food Pantry operates under the fiscal sponsorship of the Berkeley Friends Church, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is governed by the church's Food Pantry Oversight Committee.
The Berkeley Food Pantry was established in the spring of 1969 when Dorothy Noble, a member of Berkeley Friends Church, was led to respond to emergency calls from Berkeley residents who were overwhelming the North Oakland Parish Emergency Food Pantry.
Dorothy operated her home-based emergency pantry for several months before approaching Berkeley Friends Church to request support and housing for the growing food pantry. On October 6, 1969, the Berkeley Food Pantry opened in its current location with 13 regular volunteers managing the entire operation.
The founders of the pantry wanted to alleviate what they hoped was a short-term problem of hunger in the community. Almost 50 years later, The Berkeley Food Pantry now serves over 21,000 residents annually. Since 1990 the pantry has been an official distribution site for the USDA's Emergency Food Assistance Program.
The mission of the Berkeley Food Pantry is to provide families, especially those with children, with adequate sustenance and nutrition at times when bills for food, rent, health care, and other items overwhelm them. Since 1969, we have provided Berkeley and Albany, California families in need with enough nutritious emergency groceries to help them through these times of financial crisis. The Berkeley Food Pantry has continuously increased its capacity to distribute emergency groceries to meet growing need in our community.