Photos top to bottom: Playground frozen in time by Jerry Nussbaum; empty Park Street, Alamedan Gerard Dumuk helps make masks for healthcare workers, laundry is essential business by Maurice Ramirez
Pandemic sweeping nation, world
Alameda continues diligently following the guidelines set forth in the California shelter-in-place order — now in its fourth week. Alameda Sun staff has taken to wearing masks in public along with many other Americans. Word from the medical community is that our efforts at social distancing have begun to “bend the curve” —lowering the number of cases reported in a short space of time — here in California and other places where sheltering in place is being respected.
Stories coming from mainstream media are heartbreaking. Hidden behind each case reported, each death tallied, lie countless stories of individual suffering and loss. Good people of all ages are dying from the virus, please don’t become one of them.
Food Bank Needs Help
Due largely to the number of people furloughed from businesses forced to shut their doors to comply with the “shelter in place” directive, the Alameda Food Bank has seen the number of people needing assistance each week increase six-fold compared with previous time periods.
“We normally serve about 60 families on an average day,” said AFB Executive Director Cindy Houts,” but we’ve seen as many as 360 per day in the past several days. Many of these people have not needed our help before because they had well-paying jobs, but they’re now out of work because their employers had to shut down temporarily.”
During the crisis, Houts emphasized, anyone with a need will be served regardless of their income.
In order to reduce the exposure risk to clients and volunteers, AFB moved its distribution operation from its trailer at Atlantic and Constitution to its larger Alameda Point warehouse at 650 W. Ranger Ave., establishing drive-through service to reduce person-to-person contact. Clients can also reach the new location by AC Transit’s #96 line.
AFB is also bringing food to senior and low-income residents of Alameda Housing Authority’s facilities so they don’t have to venture out.
“Enough people have stepped forward to help replace our senior volunteers who need to remain in their homes,” Houts said, “But we need cash donations to help pay for the food to meet the increased demand.” AFB is discouraging food donations to avoid the risk involved in handling.
More information and a link to donate is available at www.alamedafoodbank.org.
Stay Off Ballena
A resident of the Ballena Isle Marina wrote in asking for Alamedans to respect their space and keep their neighborhood safe for them to go out to get groceries and medications, and just to take a safe walk in their own neighborhood.
Locals have learned that a message is going around on social media that now that city and state parks including the Alameda Dog Park are closed, Ballena Isle is wide open. This seems to be attracting people beyond Alameda.
Many marina residents live on modest boats because of the high cost of housing, and many at Ballena Isle are seniors in the vulnerable age group. The residents report fearing for their own health and their community because literally to get in and out of the marina they must pass people too close.
The Alameda Sun reminds everyone to respect their neighbors’ limited space during this time. No one should be lingering in any particular neighborhood or running dogs off leash.
Dealing with atheltes’ disappointment
Positive Coaching Alliance, a national 501c3 non-profit, sent in a tip about how to deal with the recent cancellations of playoffs, championships, games, tournaments, and meets at every level. While these cancellations are disappointing, athletes must also be aware they are necessary to prevent further spread of disease. While cancellations and precautionary measures continue, the alliance has shared some advice on how athletic directors, coaches or parents can talk to student athletes about this disappointment. Visit https://tinyurl.com/rdsxuj9 to learn more.
Alameda Author Offers Free Book
Alameda writer Freeman Ng wrote in to share his book with everyone. Ng penned a sheltering-in-place poem, based on a classic English rhyme, that is a freely downloadable and printable mini-picture book.
“Please spread the word to any parents who might want to print out the picture book for their kids or any teachers who might want to share it with their classes,” stated Ng.
There are two versions of the book, one color and one black and white. You can find the book at www.sheltering.life along with printing and assembly instructions.
The poem that forms the text of the book is based on the classic English rhyme, “This Is the House That Jack Built,” and celebrates the rhythms of a homebound life that might include more reading aloud to the children than usual, or regular video chats with “far off friends” unable to visit in person. And, of course, plenty of cleaning and hand washing. The illustrations for the book are also by Ng, who uses an artificial-intelligence-assisted computer process to create digital art.
Gardening Guidance Goes Digital
In response to the pandemic, Alameda Backyard Growers is writing bi-monthly newsletters full of information to help people grow victory gardens and provide parents with fun and educational gardening activities with their kids.
Visit www.alamedabackyard growers.org to find the information and sign up under “Contact” to receive the newsletters as well as information on monthly education programs.