Difference Makers: Faith Food Fridays Offers Hope To Vallejo

A big group of volunteers at Faith Food Fridays in Vallejo.
Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio

Ben Buggs has been organizing Faith Food Fridays in Vallejo since 2011, but when the coronavirus pandemic hit, he knew families already struggling to make ends meet would need his help more than ever.

"We’ve seen people that are now unemployed. They never had to go to a food pantry before, but now they’re coming here," Buggs said.

Their goal is to provide food, clothes and other essential services to those in need.

Numbers have doubled since the start of the outbreak. Faith Food Fridays is now feeding nearly 1,000 households per week. Buggs said that’s most likely due to the fact that they don’t require any proof of residency to receive a box of food.

"Some places want income verification, proof of residency or a utility bill. We don’t have any qualifications at our place," he said. "Just show up."

In his heart, he believes it’s the right thing to do. Not only does Vallejo face issues of income inequality, the city has also been at the center of controversy with recent actions of the local police department.

Buggs hopes his efforts can shed a positive light on the city he serves.

"Vallejo is a depressed community. It’s the hood in the Bay Area. When I say the hood, the average median price of a house is $350,000 here," he said.

Helping people become more productive members of society starts with nutritious food, Buggs said.

Some of the healthy options offered by Vallejo's Faith Food Fridays.
Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio

"Each box has vegetables, produce, fruit, dairy, pastries, dried goods, milk, meat, bread," he said.

Faith Food Fridays also offers free clothes, haircuts and flu shots.

"What we try to provide is hope and encouragement,” Buggs said. "We’re certainly not judgmental."

They’re always looking for donations - especially during this time - whether that’s canned food items, clothes, shoes, toys, soap or Ziplock bags. You can visit their website for more information.

If you know someone who is working to create positive change during the COVID-19 crisis and would like to nominate them as a KCBS Radio Difference Maker, email us.