The Fremont Podcast

Episode 96: The Tri-City Volunteers: More Than Just a Helping Hand with Kellie Barron

November 03, 2023 Ricky B Season 2 Episode 96
Episode 96: The Tri-City Volunteers: More Than Just a Helping Hand with Kellie Barron
The Fremont Podcast
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The Fremont Podcast
Episode 96: The Tri-City Volunteers: More Than Just a Helping Hand with Kellie Barron
Nov 03, 2023 Season 2 Episode 96
Ricky B

Ever wonder how a simple act of kindness can change a life? That's what we're exploring today with our inspiring guest, Kellie Barron, the program manager for Tri-City Volunteers, an organization in Fremont, California that is truly making a difference. Hear her share their unique approach to food distribution, and how the organization brings joy with their daily distribution of food and care around the city and through events like the annual Halloween and backpack distributions and their upcoming holiday toy party.

Listen with us as we uncover the evolution of Tri-City Volunteers, from its humble beginnings sparked by a school teacher's resolve to provide every child with food and clothing, to its current status as a volunteer-driven organization.  Kellie also lets us in on the day-to-day running of the organization, from catering to hundreds in the community daily to the sources of their resources.

The Tri-City Volunteers work tirelessly to meet the ever-increasing needs of the diverse Fremont community, which includes seniors on fixed incomes and college students struggling to make ends meet. Whether you're a local or someone looking for some inspiration, take a moment to listen to this episode. It's a heartening reminder of how compassion and volunteerism can truly change lives and communities.

To find out more, look on the Tri-City Volunteer website here.

You can follow them on Instagram here.

And you can follow them on Facebook here.

To see how you can volunteer, go here. 

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here. 

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wonder how a simple act of kindness can change a life? That's what we're exploring today with our inspiring guest, Kellie Barron, the program manager for Tri-City Volunteers, an organization in Fremont, California that is truly making a difference. Hear her share their unique approach to food distribution, and how the organization brings joy with their daily distribution of food and care around the city and through events like the annual Halloween and backpack distributions and their upcoming holiday toy party.

Listen with us as we uncover the evolution of Tri-City Volunteers, from its humble beginnings sparked by a school teacher's resolve to provide every child with food and clothing, to its current status as a volunteer-driven organization.  Kellie also lets us in on the day-to-day running of the organization, from catering to hundreds in the community daily to the sources of their resources.

The Tri-City Volunteers work tirelessly to meet the ever-increasing needs of the diverse Fremont community, which includes seniors on fixed incomes and college students struggling to make ends meet. Whether you're a local or someone looking for some inspiration, take a moment to listen to this episode. It's a heartening reminder of how compassion and volunteerism can truly change lives and communities.

To find out more, look on the Tri-City Volunteer website here.

You can follow them on Instagram here.

And you can follow them on Facebook here.

To see how you can volunteer, go here. 

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here. 

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Speaker 1:

I'm Gary Williams. Your reviews help other people find this podcast. If you would please leave a review on iTunes.

Speaker 2:

So when I first started, I was just a volunteer and I came here so I could give back to my community and I wanted to do something that was needed when I was growing up.

Speaker 4:

I used to come to food panchers when I was a kid. My mom would take us into food panches like this People are still hurting, people are still hungry and they need people to show care and kindness to them, and I don't think that need goes away.

Speaker 1:

Coming to you straight from Fremont, California. This is the Fremont podcast, dedicated to telling the stories of the past and present of the people and places of the city of Fremont, one conversation at a time.

Speaker 5:

Hi, sweetie. Ricky wanted me to go find some emus, so I found two of them. They're mostly quiet, but sometimes they make this low guttural noise like beating from the bottom of a rain barrel. One chased the other off, so I guess I should tell you this is episode 96 of the Fremont podcast.

Speaker 1:

Now here's your host, Ricky B.

Speaker 4:

Well, I am very pleased to be joined by Kelly Barron today. She works with the Tri-City volunteers, and what is your role, that you have here?

Speaker 2:

So my role is program manager, so I oversee the different events that we do. I oversee all of our registration for our clients. I oversee any department that is outward facing for the organization in terms of like what we do here, so we just came off our Halloween event and we've had our backpack event. So those are some things that I oversee.

Speaker 4:

The Halloween event is obviously an annual thing, but the backpack event how often would you do one of those? That is annual as well in the summer, Okay, and what does that meant to take care of? What does that look like?

Speaker 2:

So we partner with two really strong organizations, premier Nissan in Fremont and American Licorice Company, and they donate backpacks to us. This year we gave away 450 backpacks to our clients.

Speaker 4:

Okay, wow, that's awesome. And so then, what kind of events do you have coming up?

Speaker 2:

So coming up, this is holiday season for us and we have all our food drives going on and that food will go directly into our holiday distribution, our holiday distribution. And then we have a toy drive going on for our annual toy party, which is this December the 16th.

Speaker 4:

Wow, that's a lot of work. I imagine there's a lot that you guys have to do in order to be able to like prepare for all of that around this time of the year.

Speaker 2:

Yes, we get a lot of calls for people wanting barrels from us and wanting to know what they can donate. So we do barrel drop offs, barrel pickups, toy drop offs, toy pickups, and we just tried to make sure that this is a good community event. We have people who've been wanting barrels from us for years.

Speaker 4:

Wow, and the barrels are things that are placed around different locations where people can donate.

Speaker 2:

Yep. So a lot of schools in the area have it out for parents to donate. Different businesses want the barrels in their facilities so people can just donate shelf stable items. We have an ask list, though it's not just anything. We really target it so we can get the foods that we need.

Speaker 4:

That will directly impact our clients, and obviously when someone picks up a barrel, then they probably give them that list. But is that something you can find online as well?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we do have links for stuff, and social media is very good for that, because we posted out there of what we want, what the ask is right now. We try to keep up our web pages just to make sure people know where and what they can do for us.

Speaker 4:

So we're sitting in a really a pretty decent sized room and there's a lot of pallets with boxes on them and then carts or shelves with red bags, and those are red bags that you guys have assembled for the holidays. Is that right?

Speaker 2:

Yes, so we've currently had Starbucks in and they built 450 holiday bags for us.

Speaker 3:

Wow.

Speaker 2:

And those bags are already marked for our mobile pantries. So TCV here has a marketplace style. You can come twice a month. But we also have 23 different sites in Fremont that are powered by volunteers and we have these three vans that go out there's a green van, a blue van and an orange van and we load those vans up and take them out. So the red bags that we're looking at are already earmarked for various locations. They'll be the recipients of that, with some produce and a protein.

Speaker 4:

And how many bags are here and how many more bags are you guys having to put together before the holidays?

Speaker 2:

So right here, what we're staring at is 450, and then we have another 2000 that will be built.

Speaker 4:

Wow, so, yeah, so I think we maybe maybe I jumped the gun a little bit. I want to go back and figure out what does it look like on a daily basis or a weekly basis for you guys, because these are a number of these things that we talked about are like you were talking about the Halloween event, the backpack event, which are both annual. Obviously, the holidays are more of an annual sort of thing, once a year, but you guys don't just function around the seasons and the holidays, you function year round. And this is like how many days a week are you guys open? What does it look like for you guys on a regular day to day, week to week schedule?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so we're open Monday through Friday. Our door is open at 10 o'clock and we close it too.

Speaker 4:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

So we do have a drive-thru distribution. So next week we start our winter hours so people will be able to come choice model. That means they get to select the foods they want very much like a farmer's market. And we're open 10 to two Monday, tuesday, wednesday but we're changing our hours slightly for the winter for Thursday and Friday. Thursday we're changing 12 to four. And the reason for that change was so we can hit families and parents that can't necessarily get food. So we want to open up longer past the school time.

Speaker 2:

So, most kids are out of school at 2.33 o'clock and the parents can come here and do a drive-thru distribution to get food, and we've extended our hours on Friday. Now we'll be open till 10 to two drive-thru as well. So we'll have three days of choice model, two days of drive-thru, and it's because the need is that great and we service about 225 to 300 clients per day.

Speaker 4:

Wow, wow. It's amazing that we have that many people In the city that I mean I'm sure there's a lot more that probably do not connect with you guys but just the fact that you service that many people a few hundred people a day that are looking for food and ways to be able to make meals, and that's really what you guys are doing as well. You're providing them with the ingredients that they need, or the canned goods or non-perishable items that they need in order to be able to care for themselves. This is not like a soup kitchen, where there's a meal provided for them.

Speaker 2:

No, they get to choose from 19 items. We do family numbers too. So if you're a family of one to two, your numbers might be a little bit less, but if you're a family of five, eight, 10, you'll get a few more potatoes and onions, just because we know that you need to use that much food in your household, so we kind of gauge it off that. But yeah, you get to choose from about 19 items a day.

Speaker 4:

Wow, that's incredible, and I think you were telling me, as you were giving me the tour of the place, that this isn't just necessarily for homeless people. We're talking about people who maybe have become victims, if you will, of the inflation that has occurred recently and is obviously continually on the rise. And you see people coming in here. They actually are working very, very hard to try to make it on their own, but because prices keep going up, the cost of living goes up. Gas prices go up. They just need a break somewhere. They need to be able to find some help in areas, and so being able to provide a place where they can come get food is a way that they feel a little bit relief. Is that right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so for us, because we do service unhoused, they can come get a snack bag, but a client can come twice a month for food and what that really represents to us is that you're correct, it's the face. Obviously, hunger doesn't have a face. So for us it used to be people just not making it. But now what we're seeing is, with the inflation of these PG&E bills getting higher, your garbage bill getting higher, insurance getting higher, just day to day, operationally it's just more expensive.

Speaker 2:

I mean, we've all felt that in our own families. People just need to get those 19 items or just enough to get by until the next pay period. So it's good that we're here, that someone can come twice a month and they could stage it where maybe they get paid twice a month so they can come on the weeks that they don't get a paycheck, and that's probably when they're short and then they're able to go to our public sites.

Speaker 2:

So we have 23 sites that we go to, but eight of them are public and so we post that and they can go to those sites. They're on our website and as long as we have food at those sites, we'll accommodate.

Speaker 4:

That's where the three trucks that you were talking about you said green, blue and orange, was it Correct? Okay, and those trucks go out and they take goods to these 23 different locations and people can go to those locations instead of having to come here to your center.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so we have. I'll give you an example. We go to the Fremont Main Library. We go there two Fridays a month and if you live close, that's where you could get your pickup. Or if you're a client of ours and want to do one pickup there and one pickup here, some of our clients pick up here twice a month and still go there for the extras. So it just depends If you have the ability and you can make it, then it's there for you.

Speaker 4:

Okay, Very cool. So I believe the food or this pantry started in 1970. Is that right?

Speaker 2:

Or we've been around for 53 years 53 years.

Speaker 4:

That's incredible. So can you tell me a little bit about, like the origin of the of this organization, Like what you know, what brought it about and what has been kind of like maybe the evolution of everything from where it started to where it is now?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so it started back early 70s, the beginning of the 70s, with a school teacher and her mission was to make sure that every kid was fed and clothed. Yeah, so if. And it just started and evolved from there and it's powered by volunteers and they've been doing the same thing year in and year out. And for us the lift of getting volunteers is heavy, so we're basically driven on volunteers to come in and pack food for people.

Speaker 2:

So it's kind of evolved where it used to be a box program and then it was back and then when our director, taylor Johnson, came in, we made it client choice.

Speaker 4:

So we wanted to give the, we wanted to power our clients to be able to pick what they wanted for their home, not for us to pre-bag it, right, right, wow, that's cool, do you, as you look back at the years, I know, and how long? How long have you actually worked? I know you said you're you've been here now for a couple of years, but before and there was a little bit of a break in there how long have you worked for the, for the organization?

Speaker 2:

The first time I worked here, it was two years.

Speaker 4:

And I just came back in May.

Speaker 2:

Okay, To a different role. When I first started TCV, I was the mobile pantry coordinator.

Speaker 3:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

We had eight sites and I helped, partner with the director, partnered with the director, to build that pantry out to what we have today, which is 23 sites.

Speaker 4:

All right, and how many other employees are here at the organization then, and how many volunteers do you generally have?

Speaker 2:

We're a staff of five.

Speaker 4:

Okay, wow.

Speaker 2:

And we have about 24 to 27 volunteers per day. So, about a hundred a week. I mean a little bit more than that sometimes depending on groups but, that's what we look for about 25 a day.

Speaker 4:

Okay, do you have volunteers that come back day after day, or do they pretty much come once a week, or how does that work?

Speaker 2:

Yes, we have lead volunteers that have set times and dates. So we'll have a lead that's here Tuesday, thursday and we have leads that are here Monday, wednesday, friday, and then we fill in around that with volunteers, whether they're packing, sorting food, helping clients. We have a, you know, they have to scan their cards to get food. So there's various different positions, okay, and we're constantly looking for volunteers and groups to help us especially this time of year because of, you know, family obligations. Sometimes people are on vacation and we can't fill that need.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so what does it look like for somebody to become a volunteer? So like, if I'm not a volunteer, I've never started the process. So if I wanted to become a volunteer here, what would I need to do? Like, what would that look like for me?

Speaker 2:

So you would go to our website, click on the volunteer button. There's a form that you're going to fill out that automatically gets submitted to us. Once we approve that, you know you're good to go with us. We've done. You know the clearance on it. You get a link for sign up and from there you just pick the shifts that you want. You can come once a month, twice a month. You know there are three hour shifts, so there's a lot of opportunity.

Speaker 2:

And when you get here, there's different jobs, even though you might sign up for something you might need you somewhere else, so there's a lot of flexibility for us to have volunteers.

Speaker 4:

We'll be right back. You can hear the rest of this conversation in just a moment.

Speaker 3:

My name is Irene Benavides. I'm one of the camp leaders and this year I am so excited that we surpassed last year's fundraising goal and this year we raised over $160,614. Wow, and it looks like we'll be able to fund the different applicants that requested funds from us.

Speaker 5:

How many applicants were there this time? With eight, eight, oh, you get to fund all eight.

Speaker 3:

It looks like we'll be able to, so we're excited about that.

Speaker 5:

Congratulations.

Speaker 3:

And if you go to our website, the Candlelighter website, you can enter your proposal. You can see the information when we will be asking for proposals for next year, for 2024.

Speaker 5:

If you'd like to learn more about the Candlelighters, listen to episode 90 of the Fremont podcast.

Speaker 4:

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Speaker 4:

Yeah, you and I were talking earlier. You were giving me the tour around the place. I used to come to food pantries. When I was a kid, my mom would take us into food pantries like this, and I'm the oldest of six kids. I've kind of talked about it a little bit before on the podcast, but I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of these food pantries and not having food at home and my mom having to do what she can to take whatever is given to her to be able to make food for the family, a meal for the family. You were saying to me as well. You didn't necessarily have the same situation as I did, but you found yourself, as a military family, in a situation where things were not all that easy as well. When you help these people on a personal level, if you don't mind me asking, how does this affect you? How do you see what you're doing and your role, and what is it like for you to help serve people in these situations?

Speaker 2:

When I first started I was just a volunteer and I came here so I could give back to my community and I wanted to do something that was needed when I was growing up and I felt like I was raised where you help people.

Speaker 2:

But when I got here I felt like I could do so much more and I felt like this could be a possible opportunity for me to have a real seasoned job here. When I know Fremont, I know the community and being raised here with a military father and young parents that had no help or had very little help, I felt like this could be it. But what I found here is that when you provide food to people and you're really helping them get the resources that they need and you can provide them with things that they could use just helping to fill that need and seeing the people with their, they just like it, they're just happy. It helps fill a void for them that they may not get. So when we have chicken and eggs and you just see the smiles, it just resonates with you because it just reminds me that this mission is something that we all need.

Speaker 2:

It's something that we can all give in a way, but you want to give with purpose and you want to move with purpose and you want these people to be able to take something away that they can actually use in their kitchen, and it's good that we can build programs around that.

Speaker 2:

So we know what people want, and I think it's just good. It's just to know that we are still the same mission from the 70s, from the early 70s, something I grew up on, something the people who created this, the school teacher and her mission, and it's just good for us. It just gives you a smile and a warmth that you can continuously build this program and make it so these healthy choice programs and these healthy meal programs can be provided for everyone.

Speaker 4:

It's great to see, it's great to see, it's a feel good moment. People are still hurting, people are still hungry and they need people to show care and kindness to them and I don't think that need goes away. Where do you guys? I know you have the barrels that people donate things to. Where else do you get your product from? Because if you're serving hundreds of people a day like it, that can't just come from Barrels. So where do they? Where do you get everything from that you're able to give away?

Speaker 2:

So we're in and we're one agency of Alameda County Community Food Bank, okay, which is our hub, so ACC FB being an agency, that's where all our USDA foods come from so it gets trucked down twice a week to us and then from there we sort through it and that's what goes out for our clients, on top of any rescue program that we have from grocery rescue or various partners that bring in food to us. So for us we you know it's a lot of poundage of food right and right.

Speaker 2:

So we have the, the agency that gives us food. All our rescue, various people going out to Private donors give us food or provide us with money to buy food.

Speaker 4:

Okay, yeah, that's awesome. What, what? What would be like? You talked about the volunteers. How many volunteers a day kind of come out. What would be the? What are some of the ways that a person could help that maybe are overlooked, that are maybe obvious ways that someone could help, I mean, if you're fully staffed and you have all the volunteers or there's. What are some of the things that you guys feel maybe a little bit of stress About? Or you feel like you know we need these needs met and People maybe just don't see them as important, but you guys are feeling the need for those things to be met. What are, what are some of those things that you might have?

Speaker 4:

Well, we're constantly, always looking for volunteers right, so there's a lot of spots that aren't filled but if it's not just volunteering with us.

Speaker 2:

What we really ask people to do is we really like money. We really want you guys because then we can take the monetary donation and turn it into Food and our dollar will go further, because we have places where we can buy foods that actually directly impact our clients, like we can buy bok choy or we can buy acorn squash or we can buy Brussels sprouts, and those are the things that will directly impact. So we like the the financial side.

Speaker 4:

And that's because you guys deal with these people day in and day out and you kind of know what they're asking for, right? And so it's kind of like when you have a birthday party and somebody comes and brings you something that I mean it's a cool gift, but you're like you really had your heart set on a particular thing and if someone would just given you $20 in a card that you could have been able to get something you really really, you know that suited you differently, you know, or better, or whatever. In this case, you guys are working with these people day in and day out. You know the things are asking about, you know the things that they're really looking for, and so you're able to actually, you know, acquire those things with the money that is given To be able to provide them with those things.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we do have different drives during the year where we'll do a cereal and milk drive or cereal drive, right. Or we'll do these different drives because we know the need, like we did a cereal drive earlier this year In the summertime because we knew kids were going back to school and of course cereal is a hot item for parents, right. So we wanted to be able to provide that. And then for us, right now, it's holidays, right. So people ask well, we really tailored our ask for our Demographics and so we're asking for things that Ethnic to foods, where we know they'll directly impact when someone's in their kitchen cooking. So we really try to do more tailored down, really thought out programs that are gonna be useful. We just don't say, you know, bring me your cans, or we really try to say, hey, this is what we're looking for that the this is exactly what we need and this will directly impact the community.

Speaker 2:

So by calling us and getting the drive list or the list that they can donate really does help. So you're not just going to the grocery store just buying anything that you think people will like, but it's actually what people really like.

Speaker 4:

That's great, wow. What are some of the things? What are there other things that you do or that you guys have done over the years that would be really helpful For people to know About this organization, and what are some of the things that you know people can maybe look at and consider in the future that they could help you with?

Speaker 2:

So, for us, we just really Try to have these different events, whether we, you know, have the toy party, where it's a very communal event, we bring various partners in to help us. We also have, you know, we start the year out and then we have Volunteer events we're gonna do next year, we're gonna do an open house, so people can come and actually take tours and see what we do.

Speaker 3:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

We have Easter baskets around the holiday, you know Easter, and so we just really try to be more communal focused. So we, you know we if the city is having something, an event where we can table, we go there. We just did one at Fremont Unified School District. We were at the hers breast cancer walk, we were at Mutson strut and strut In Union City, just really trying to get out there and letting people know that we're part of the community and we're here for whether you need food, whether you need volunteer hours, whether you know you didn't know we existed.

Speaker 2:

A lot of people still don't know we're here.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I didn't know. I mean, someone had told me about it a while back. I didn't know the location of this building and I also just didn't really know what you know, any of this was happening. So this is very new for me and I try to think I kind of think I know a lot of what's happening around the city.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we still get people. This was like an old VA building and back. I don't really even know. I've tried to pinpoint a date when it was. But we still get people are like, is this still for the VA? And we are like, no, it's on the other side of Fremont. But I mean people know this building existed for many reasons, and you know they still come here and or they didn't know what existed and they're like wow, I can help here.

Speaker 3:

I can.

Speaker 2:

I, you know, I can do stuff here and we're like yeah, we're right here right in Fremont on Peralta, like right by DMV and yeah, that's pretty cool and been here for over 50 years.

Speaker 4:

Wow, so we also for us.

Speaker 2:

We really try to do give back to the community like we're in the parade and we get our name out there, but we also just tried to Be a Very a Place that people can count on yeah, that's great. Our doors are open for you, so we're also an emergency food pantry.

Speaker 4:

Okay, one thing, I didn't mention.

Speaker 2:

What that means is that if somewhere were to knock on our door right now needing food, no questions asked they get food, so it could have been someone that just Whatever fell short on their hard times like right now like we're here. We're still in the building and they need food. We will provide them.

Speaker 6:

Wow, that's awesome.

Speaker 2:

No questions asked will bag of food and give it to them, because we are emergency food pantry.

Speaker 4:

So I'm gonna talk about what that means and how to get food. And if you're in the middle of the building, billy Roy's burgers in center Will is a great place to enjoy family food and great service. You can find them off the corner of Thornton Avenue and Fremont Boulevard in center Will. If you are looking to buy or sell your home Com or pay Jennifer a visit in downtown Niles, if you have enjoyed this podcast, consider supporting it with a small gift at Buy me a coffee comm slash the Fremont podcast. Thank you for your support and thanks for listening you so.

Speaker 4:

Is there a scenario where I'm just trying to think through this like I've? I've come across people in the city that are asking for food. They need food and perhaps they don't have transportation, or perhaps they are in a you know there, for whatever reason, maybe they don't even have a cell phone, they can't access the website or whatever. Like if I were to come here and say I know of people that are on my, in my neighborhood, that are asking for food, can I get some food to go take to them, would I be able to? You know, would it need to be something where they would come. They would have to be present and ask for it themselves, or would it be something that I could do on behalf of them, or how would that work?

Speaker 2:

so we want everyone to be able to have access to food, and a lot of people don't have cars and they can't get here. So if you're a registered client, someone else can pick up your food for you.

Speaker 6:

So if you were the vessel to get the application, to them and they got it back to us and they had a card and you were picking up their food.

Speaker 2:

We definitely do that. Yeah, various agencies do that around here where life elder care would pick up food for their clients. We have various people who are there. They have somebody who picks up food for them on a base like constantly that's just, they're signed off on you know their power of attorney or you know they're willing to step in and take the food, so we're super accommodating in that way yeah where we want these individuals to be able to get the same resources as they would if they came here, okay all right, well, that's great.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, this is.

Speaker 4:

This is pretty amazing. I think it's something that people need to know about in our city because I think that you know it's often you know we're gonna enter into 2024, which is a political year, right, and I try to avoid politics and political conversations on the podcast and try to keep it very neutral and community friendly in that way, but there's, you know, one of the hot topics that always comes up as homelessness and or the unhoused, and I think that oftentimes we as a community might have opinions about these things without actually knowing all the things that are going into how helping people, and this is just one of the organizations out there that are helping, and so I just think it's good for people in our city to know more about what you're doing and and everything that's happening here. If people did want to help and I know again, we talked about volunteers, you stressed how much volunteering it could be a big help, but between now and the end of the year, as you enter in the holidays, is there anything else that people could do to help?

Speaker 2:

yeah, so for us we have a couple things going on we have our virtual drives okay which just increases funding so we can buy toys and food for our clients. Yep, and we constantly need you to step up and want to volunteer at this.

Speaker 2:

We're always volunteering but I think, just just really supporting what we do and our cause. I mean, we feed over, you know, thousands of people, yeah, and so for us just, and it's not just in Fremont, just we do tri cities, yeah, but since this is, you know, we just want to make sure that you know surrounding areas. If you are listening, you can definitely get food and and help us to the free.

Speaker 4:

My podcast cares about, cares about the tri-city area yeah.

Speaker 2:

So for us, just for our mission, there's a lot of things that we're doing next year and we were just trying to raise money. So maybe we do some different programs where we want to maybe move back inside, to let people come in inside, where we're sitting yeah, that'll be available. You know we always talk about. You know what the next venture is for us and so just raising awareness of like looking at do we do delivery services? Do we do we? How do we meet the need of our clients?

Speaker 2:

yeah, we're constantly thinking about ways that we can make sure we're we're meeting the needs of our community of our clients and, you know, the kids and the families that that live close to us, and we just want them to strive and be happy and healthy and be able to know that we're here for them that's awesome.

Speaker 4:

That's very cool. Do you mind me asking a little bit about you? You grew up here in Fremont. You already I already asked you about things that you remember. So what was your? So you went to Kennedy High School, and then what happened after high school? What did you do after that?

Speaker 2:

so after high school I went to Cal State Award and so I've played soccer growing up here in Fremont. I've played on a lot of different teams and actually my last tournament I played in I was 28 wow and my parents are like you think you need to get a real job, and I said, okay, I'm working on that and got one, and I didn't stay at that job for 20, 22 years before I came here.

Speaker 4:

That's amazing. So, and I haven't left Fremont, yeah, no, so, yeah, yeah. So I guess if you went to Cal State Hayward, then you probably just commuted from here to Cal State Hayward anymore.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, it's East Bay now that's right, but so that kind of dates me yeah, well, that's cool, that's very cool.

Speaker 4:

And so then you worked here in the community and you just been here for a really long time. That's really great, very cool just a great and it's.

Speaker 2:

That's another thing. It's just knowing the area, knowing the community and knowing all the little different places and just really understanding who we are and what we need to do here and, and just you know, always having that eye out for how we can help and how, how can we just provide viable resources? Yeah our city has grown a lot, but and the need has gotten that way too.

Speaker 5:

So I want everyone to understand that. The Eloni College flea market is happening every second Saturday of the month from 9 am to 3 pm on Eloni's Fremont campus. Hey Van, are there any promotions that the vendor should know about?

Speaker 6:

Yes, so we're still currently running our current garage seller promotion, so you buy one market and you get the second one half off.

Speaker 5:

Anything else.

Speaker 6:

Yes, so we are also going to be having a six-month promotion, from January until June of next year, and that one, if you lock in a six-month agreement with us, your six-month price will be 40% off, and you can sign up and lock in those six months as soon as right now or the next time you guys come to our information booth and ask us about it. So if you want to lock it down from January to June of next year, it's going to be 40% off. So it's a really, really good deal.

Speaker 5:

So that six-month promotion is for next year, but people can come by this year and lock it in.

Speaker 6:

Yes, that is exactly correct.

Speaker 5:

So the last time we talked to you, we're looking for a popcorn vendor and a coffee vendor. Any luck. Do you still need them?

Speaker 6:

Yes, so we're still looking for a coffee vendor and popcorn vendor. So if anybody knows of anyone or has a favorite, please shoot them my way or text us the business and I can reach out to them to see. If they want to, then at Aloni College Flea Market.

Speaker 5:

And if people want to contact you, how do they get in touch?

Speaker 6:

So our phone number is 510-659-6285. And the email is fleamarketataloneedu. More information can be found at aloniedu slash flea-market.

Speaker 4:

Was there a certain point in time for you in your life that you've lived here where you became more aware of the needs that you're now serving? In other words, because I think you grow up in a place you can see, maybe, people in certain situations, whether they're on house or whatever. They seem as kind of a one-off sort of situation or kind of an anomaly, but then all of a sudden you realize that people in these particular places in their life are actually, there's actually more needs out there than you realize and it actually becomes a pressing need on your own. You know your own soul. Was there ever a point in time where that became a reality for you in the city of Fremont, having grown up here?

Speaker 2:

I think for me, just growing up and being aware that I too was a recipient of resources and just keeping you know our core values here, I think there's just a lot of growth, but inside that growth there's still a lot of demand for food, pantries and voids that we can fill. So we see Fremont growing, but we also see the need growing too. So, I don't know if those two things will ever be equal, and I think that as long as we continue to grow, we'll continue to see a need.

Speaker 4:

That's a good point.

Speaker 4:

I mean, things constantly change and when they change they create voids and needs that maybe didn't exist before, and there's, all of a sudden, things that we need to come up with, an idea or a plan of how to handle those things, you know, and we can come up with advancements.

Speaker 4:

I think I was reading a book on culture and they were saying how it was on culture making, and it was actually talking about the fact that you can have something new, like, say, the iPhone, and it solves a bunch of problems or it creates a new set of opportunities for people, but then all of a sudden, like, that same advancement that solves a bunch of other problems all of a sudden creates a whole world of things that need to be addressed and taken care of. And so I think that's the same way as our culture and as our society continues to evolve, we're going to address certain issues that are automatically going to create issues that need to be addressed later on, because it's a whole new set of needs. So yeah, I can see that, having lived here in Fremont, seeing it change and evolve over time. All of a sudden it creates new needs and new demands that are really important.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that brings up a good point. I think that we're not just focused on, we do a lot of our focus on seniors and making sure they have foods sustainable, because they're all fixed incomes. And then we have this group 18 to 59 that are working class, that again, because of the inflation and cost of living and their paychecks having to go, so you have that group growing. And then you have a lot of the college kids and the people who are now maybe out on their own, that are not getting the resources they need.

Speaker 2:

So you have the young ones coming out of high school on how am I going to survive? And so we're here for them and provide the food and resources. And you have the big group of working class that are here. And then we we supply the food for seniors. And I think that's always going to be because I'm going to get to be an age where I have a fixed income too, and if I need the resources, I want them to be available to me. So that's just as we grow old and you know, and we end our working career and we have fixed incomes.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

We too, so a lot of what we do is seniors working class, and then now we have a new group of that's been around for a long time. It's just all the college kids that with tuition and cost of living for them too has gone up, that they can have pantries at their locations or they can come here for food to get the resources. As you know, they try to advance in their life.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, that's great. Well, I love what you guys are doing and I love what you've shared. If people wanted to know more, what's the website or what's the? Where can they find out more about the food pantry here?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so we're on Joseph Street in Fremont.

Speaker 4:

OK.

Speaker 2:

And our website is TCV Food Bank. That's Tia's and Tom's, tia's and Charlie, via's and Victor Foodbankorg.

Speaker 4:

OK, very good. Is there anything else that we need to know about you guys, or anything that would be helpful?

Speaker 2:

No, just look for a. Follow us on Facebook.

Speaker 3:

OK.

Speaker 2:

And Instagram and all of that good social media. Just to keep up with what our need is, we post. We try to post something weekly that we're doing here, just so you guys can get involved and definitely think of us during the holiday time. Volunteer, donate money, drop off toys.

Speaker 4:

That's great. Can people donate online? I'm assuming.

Speaker 2:

Definitely online.

Speaker 4:

OK, yes, you can donate online.

Speaker 2:

Marge stop by and we'll be happy, and one of the things I didn't mention is that if this is the time of year where you're picking fruit off your trees, or you're harvesting your own vegetables. We do like family farms, OK.

Speaker 4:

All right, that's great to know. Yeah, we did an interview with Leaf and I know that Leaf is. They have their gardens over there, that some are rented lots where people can grow whatever they want. But then there's also the small plots where it's grown by volunteers and that's harvested, and I believe that goes to you guys as well.

Speaker 2:

We are the recipients of Leaf here and they come twice a week and those foods go directly out to our clients and it's just great working with Elaine and the team at Leaf.

Speaker 4:

That's great. That's great. Well, thank you again for being on the podcast. I'm excited to be able to share this with our community, and I'm going to look into volunteering because I think this is a really important thing to be a part of, and I think it would be good for me to experience as well. So that's great. Thank you so much.

Speaker 2:

Thank you.

Speaker 1:

This episode was hosted and produced by Ricky B, scheduling and pre-interviews by Sarah S. Rachel Prey is the print editor in charge of our newsletter. I'm Gary Williams. Andrew Kovett is the editor. Music provided by soundstripecom Be sure to subscribe wherever it is that you listen so you don't miss an episode. You can find everything we make the podcast, our newsletter and all of our social media links at thefremontpodcastcom. Join us next week on the Fremont Podcast.

Speaker 2:

We really try to say, hey, this is what we're looking for. That's great. This is exactly what we need and this will directly impact the community. So by calling us and getting the drive list or the list that they can donate really does help. So you're not just going to the grocery store or just buying anything that you think people will like, but it's actually what people will really like.

Speaker 4:

That's great Wow.

Speaker 6:

This is a Muggins Media podcast.

Tri-City Volunteers
The Evolution of a Volunteer-Driven Organization
Empowering Production and Helping the Community
Food Access Assistance for Community Members
Flea Market Promotions and Community Needs
Fremont Podcast and Community Impact