As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Salesforce and Eat. Learn. Play., along with partners Oakland Unified School DistrictWorld Central Kitchen, Numi Foundation and Full Harvest, launched a pilot program to combat food insecurity. This initial 6-week program, launched in June, connected families with fresh food from farms and to help ensure that food did not go to waste. During the pilot, the partners sourced nearly 500,000 pounds of fresh farm produce from local, minority-owned farms and served more than 32,000 mostly (85%) Black and LatinX low-income families. 

Unfortunately, hunger is becoming an even more critical issue for Americans during the pandemic, affecting almost 54 million Americans with a disproportionate impact on Black and LatinX families. 

Today, Salesforce and Eat. Learn. Play. are announcing the next phase of the program, which includes adding more partners, additional funding and scaling the program to reach more families. Full Harvest and World Central Kitchen will continue in their roles sourcing and distributing produce respectively. The program will also add new partners to accelerate the mission, including Uber FreightGrowing Together, Mandela PartnersOffice of Kat TaylorDreisbach EnterprisesHellman Foundation and Battery Powered. Together, these operational and financial partners will support direct-to-home deliveries for ~5,000 families per week, with an expansion target to serve at least one million school families with millions of pounds of fresh food.

Mandela Partners will focus on sourcing from local BIPOC-owned and regenerative agriculture farms. The logistics and freight team at Uber Freight is now helping to transport bulk produce from farms to warehouses. Growing Together is driving home deliveries, while employing local parents of students who attend OUSD to help with transportation and labor. Dreisbach and World Central Kitchen will deliver produce boxes to OUSD sites.

In addition to Salesforce and Eat. Learn. Play. re-investing $1M in this next phase, new funding partners include Uber, Hellman Foundation, Battery Powered and the Office of Kat Taylor’s  Growing the Table initiative. 

Comments on the news:

  • “Food insecurity poses a real threat to our communities and their ability to thrive post-pandemic. By bringing more nonprofits, farms, and businesses together, we dramatically scale our impact and ensure the critical needs of our communities are met,” said Ebony Beckwith, Chief Philanthropy Officer, Salesforce. “This type of collaboration is what will enable us to create solutions for the current crisis and beyond.”
  • “Creative partnerships like the Alliance for Food Justice and Growing the Table are feeding food-insecure families and increasing viable market alternatives for Black, LatinX and Indigenous farmers,” said Kat Taylor, Founding Director of Growing the Table, a California food aid initiative. “Together, we are working to strengthen our food system’s connective tissue to be more inclusive and sustainable so that we can build back from the pandemic healthier and stronger.”
  • “We are honored to partner with Salesforce and Eat. Learn. Play. to help tackle hunger and ensure thousands of underserved families have access to food during this uncertain and difficult time,” said Julia Paige, Head of Social Impact at Uber. “The Uber Freight team’s exceptional logistics expertise combined with the additional funding to support the group’s transportation costs will assist in the rapid scaling of the program, ensuring that fresh and healthy produce gets from the farms to the families quickly and reliably.” 
  • “The COVID pandemic continues to disrupt produce supply chains and put millions of more Americans at risk of food insecurity everyday,” said Christine Moseley, Founder and CEO of Full Harvest. “The critical expansion of this program will further help farmers bring more of their produce to market, while providing nutritious fruits and vegetables to tens of thousands of additional at-risk families.” 
  • “This past year has shown all of us that we need to have a holistic approach to food security,” said Jose Corona, Vice President of Programs and Partnerships, Eat. Learn. Play.  “We are incredibly proud of the work we’ve accomplished with all of our amazing partners, to-date. This next step, with these new partners and organizations will help us reach families who are in need and face increased food insecurity. Together, we will continue to provide healthy meals and fresh farm produce for thousands of our children and families in Oakland.”