Record low shortage of donations to San Leandro food pantry

An East Bay nonprofit that works to help families out of poverty said it has received record low donations from a recent food drive.  

The staff at the Davis Street Community Center in San Leandro described the situation as "devastating."

Workers said the food pantry is fast running out of food, and is in desperate need of donations.

The center has been serving the community for more than 3 decades and workers said they've never experienced such an extreme shortage of donations.

Manager Emile Awwad pointed to empty shelves as he said,"Usually at this time of the year, all these would be overloaded."

The staff said last month, the lack of donations from its food drive with the United States Postal Service  brought in only 1,400 pounds of food instead of the usual 42,000 pounds of nonperishable items.

"It's troubling. It's sad. It's frustrating," said Daniel Johnson, CEO of Davis Street Community Center.  

The annual event involved mail carriers picking up donations from customers along their routes.

"This is the 32nd year that Davis Street has participated in the food drive with the San Leandro post office and, unfortunately, this is the lowest turnout we've ever had," said Johnson.

The center said Janice Turner of Hayward is among the 5,000 plus people who rely on the food they receive from the pantry.  

The single mom and grandmother said the food she receives is for her and her family of 9, which includes children.  

"I've been coming here for 20 years, and it helps me and my kids out a lot," Turner said she's on disability after being  injured on the job as a school district food service worker.
"without this place, we would go hungry. A lot of people would go hungry."

The center's CEO said he doesn't know the reason behind the lack of donations, but suspected that inflation may be a reason.  

"We have more people coming to us for services across the board and I just think the rising cost of living across the board has impacted everyone," Johnson said there is only enough food to last two more weeks.  

The warehouse that the pantry uses to store overflow donations was empty.

"This would be full from the warehouse door to the doors back here," said Johnson,"Now is the time to make a difference. The food pantry, especially in the summer months, is not often thought of as a time of need. For families, the working poor especially the summer months, are the most difficult time. Children are home from school all day."

The Davis Street Community Center urged people to drop nonperishable items on site at 3081 Teagarden Street in San Leandro, 
Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

For information on how to donate online, click here

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU.