It’s the best of times and the worst of times on our little Island.
The Bay Area economy is booming, but the benefits are not reaching everyone. In fact, the dramatic recovery from the Great Recession has actually made economic inequality worse.
The Bay Area created 722,000 jobs in the last eight years, but just 106,000 additional housing units, according to the Committee to House the Bay Area. That’s putting a squeeze on the availability housing that’s causing costs to skyrocket by 70 percent.
Members of the U.S. Coast Guard and other federal employees who live in Alameda can get help from the Alameda Food Bank while the government is withholding their paychecks during the shutdown.
“The Alameda Food Bank exists to help anyone struggling to put food on the table due to either a temporary crisis or a longer-term financial problem,” said Cindy Houts, food bank executive director. “These folks going without paychecks certainly qualify for our help; we urge them to seek us out.”
The Encinal High School (EHS) Drama Department is presenting Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a special fundraiser to help support the Alameda Food Bank. Midsummer will play over two weekends: Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 2 p.m. in the Encinal Amphitheater (a.k.a. the student parking lot).
Admission is free, but donations are requested to help provide food for the hungry in Alameda. This continues a tradition of using theater to help fund local nonprofits going back many years.
This coming week, the Alameda Food Bank (AFB) will gather for the annual volunteer appreciation event — the one time a year when the volunteers come to be served rather than do the serving themselves. A special focus for the event will be the 40th anniversary of AFB, and how it has carried out its mission: “to provide nutritious food to the low-income residents of the City of Alameda on a non-discriminatory basis.”
Why are these three pianists smiling? On March 26 students Nathaniel and Graciella Basco performed in their spring piano recital at Carolyn Queener and Katy Stephan’s studio. The recital continued a tradition of collecting canned goods for the Alameda Food Bank. By donating to the food bank, Nathaniel and Graciella earned raffle tickets and won a Meyer lemon meringue pie, home-baked and presented by their piano teacher for the past seven years, Carolyn Queener (right).
The Alameda Collaborative for Children, Youth, and their Families (ACCYF) have joined with the Alameda Food Bank, Alameda Red Cross Youth, Alameda firefighters and other community organizations to launch this year’s Alameda Firefighters Toy Program.
The program will ensure that all low-income Alameda families who sign up at the Alameda Food Bank receive age-appropriate holiday toys for their children up to age 12 and gift cards for their youth ages 13 to 16.
The 21st annual Sing-It-Yourself Messiah will be hosted this year by Christ Episcopal Church at 1700 Santa Clara Ave. (at Grand Street). The long-standing Island City tradition continues Saturday, Dec. 19, at 4 p.m.
The performance features the “The Trumpet Shall Sound” and “Hallelujah Chorus” of George Frideric Handel’s Oratorio Messiah with chamber orchestra, harpsichord, soloists, organ and a Sing-It-Yourself chorus. The public is invited to sing or just listen. Terry O’Connor and Michael Moran will conduct the chorus and orchestra.