What will I receive when I come to the pantry?
What you will receive from the pantry depends on the size of your family. Everyone receives a selection of USDA food as long as it is available. Households of adults only will also receive a selection of items purchased by or donated to the pantry. This includes shelf stable staples, frozen meat, and a selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and bread. If you have children in your household, you will receive a supplemental bag of food that helps to support the needs of your growing children. Visitors to the pantry are now able to select nearly all their own food from among the food we are offering on that pantry day.
The Berkeley Food Pantry is here to help.
All Albany and Berkeley residents in need of emergency groceries are welcome to visit the pantry.
We are open 2 - 4pm, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
We are located at 1600 Sacramento Street in Berkeley, at the corner of Sacramento and Cedar Streets.
You can reach us on public transportation via AC Transit line 52, which stops right outside our building on Sacramento Street.
The North Berkeley BART station is just three blocks south of Cedar on Sacramento.
We have a small parking lot and there is nearby street parking.
The Berkeley Food Pantry is wheelchair accessable.
Do I need to bring anything?
There are some items you'll need to bring when you visit the pantry:
To receive food you need to bring a photo ID each time you come to the pantry.
Proof of Residence:
On your first visit you will also need to bring something to confirm your Berkeley or Albany address. Acceptable documentation could be:
Piece of mail with your current address
Rental or lease agreement
Another recent document with your current address
We confirm our regular clients' addresses once a year.
Please note that for your protection, we do not keep copies of these documents on file at the pantry.
We also ask that you bring your own bags. You will need two to four bags depending on the size of your family. The Berkeley Food Pantry works hard to keep non-food expenses as low as possible in order to provide as much high quality food to our guests as we can. In addition, the pantry works hard to keep waste to a minimum. We are committed to running as environmentally friendly a pantry as possible.
How often can I receive groceries?
The Berkeley Food Pantry is an emergency food resource only. You can receive groceries once a month.
For ongoing help with getting food, please call any of these agencies:
WIC: 510-981-5360. Support and aid for pregnant and nursing women and young children.
CalFresh: 800-870-3663. Food purchasing assistance (formerly food stamps, AKA SNAP).
General Assistance: 888-999-4772. Alameda County Social Services, 2000 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley
What if I can't make it to the pantry myself?
Often, clients cannot make it to the pantry themselves due to illness or infirmity. When that happens, clients can send a representative to the pantry to pick up groceries for them. All we require is that the client fill out a form designating that person as their representative. In addition, the representative will need to present his or her own photo id when picking up groceries for the client. If the client is unable to visit the pantry to fill out the form, the client's representative can visit the pantry with the client's photo id and a signed and dated note with the client's adress and family size, and the name of the representative picking up the food. The representative will receive groceries and a form to use at the next visit. We require that the representative return a completed form at the time of each visit.
What if I don't live in Berkeley or Albany?
There are food pantries in every community. If you live in Alameda County, call the Alameda County Community Food Bank at (510) 635-3663 to find the food pantry closest to your home. If you live in Contra Costa County, call the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano at (925) 676-7543.
Where does the pantry get its food?
The Berkeley Food Pantry is an official distribution site for the USDA's Emergency Food Assistance Program. In addition, we purchase food from the Alameda County Community Food Bank and various grocery stores. The Pantry also receives donations of food from local grocery stores and individuals in the community.