East Bay Woman Turns Love of Sewing Into Food for Families

Bay Area food banks continue to see unprecedented demand from families negatively impacted by Covid-19, so an East Bay woman has turned her love of sewing into food for hungry families.

Ellen Kruse started sewing face masks for friends and family shortly after shelter-in-place started, just as her daughter's bakery in Alameda had to stop making pastry donations to the local food bank.  So, Ellen saw an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by making her masks available outside the business.

“I came up with the idea of maybe putting a few masks out and seeing if people wanted a few masks,” Kruse told KCBS Radio. “People needed a few masks anyways, and they would make a donation to the Alameda Food Bank.”

Customers of Crispian bakery have responded by, so far, donating over $1,200 to the Alameda Food Bank.

Alameda's Ellen Kruse Makes Masks to Raise Funds for Food Bank
Matt Bigler / KCBS Radio

“I feel great about that, it’s a hobby,” Kruse said. “Thank you so much for your generosity and act of kindness.”

Food Bank Board Member, Lisa Zinner, said they are desperate for these type of donations, as demand for food has increased ten fold. She added that for every one dollar donated, they can buy seven dollars worth of food, so Ellen's $1,200 effort equates to $8,000.

“Historically, we’ve served about 800 families per month and now we’re serving a few thousand families per week,” Zinner said.

Alameda's Ellen Kruse Makes Masks to Raise Funds for Food Bank
Matt Bigler / KCBS Radio

Alameda's Ellen Kruse Makes Masks to Raise Funds for Food Bank
Matt Bigler / KCBS Radio