Livermore church fire disrupts homeless meals, services
As you may have heard last Monday, a two-alarm fire broke out at Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Livermore. This location was an integral part of Open Heart Kitchen’s operations and our second largest serving site with 250-500 hot meals served per day. We served meals there on Thursdays and Fridays and also used the site to assemble our weekend box lunches delivered to students at local schools. We also used the site for a significant amount of refrigerator, freezer and dry goods storage, and to receive deliveries store our vehicles.
Our focus this past week has been two-prong. First and foremost, finding interim solutions so there is no disruption in service to our clients. We are fortunate and very thankful for the amazing support from the local community:
- Asbury United Methodist Church in Livermore (our Livermore serving site on Tuesday and Wednesday) has provided temporary use of a room to serve the Thursday and Friday meals that were previously offered at the at the Vineyard Christian site. Their main dining room and kitchen are not available on these days.
- Stanford Health Care / Valley Care in Livermore has provided the temporary use of a room for food storage and to assemble our bag lunches.
- Grocery Outlet in Livermore has generously offered temporary freezer storage.
- There is currently no power at our Vineyard location and Livermore Sanitation donated the use of a dumpster to clean our refrigerators and freezers from the site.
- Pleasanton Garbage Service provided hugely reduced dumping costs for the food and debris needing to be disposed of due to the fire.
The good news is there has been no interruption in our services! The challenge and continued focus is on finding permanent solutions for serving meals, assembling box lunches and for delivery and storage of dry goods as well refrigerated and frozen goods.
If you’d like to help us, we’ve set up a Fire Response fund. Click here to make a donation. If you know of a more permanent space that may meet our requirements please contact our Executive Director, Heather Greaux (email@example.com)
Two New Members Added to Open Heart Kitchen Board
Livermore, CA—-Open Heart Kitchen (OHK), the only hot meal program in the Tri-Valley area, is pleased to announce that Gary Harrington and Justin Gagnon have joined its Board of Directors.
“We are very honored to welcome both Gary Harrington and Justin Gagnon to the Open Heart Kitchen board,” said board President Ted Monk. “Both bring an enormous amount of business acumen and compassion for others to the position, and will make an enormous difference in our goal to feed the hungry of the Tri-Valley.”
Local Pleasanton philanthropist Gary Harrington is known for his deep interest in public art in the region. He, along with Nancy, his wife of 45 years, purchased and donated many of Pleasanton’s impressive public art collection. For the past three years, the Harrington’s have been conducting a series of popular monthly public art walks in Pleasanton. Gary is retired from more than three decades as an educator in the public school system. He has both Bachelors (California State University, Northridge) and Masters degrees in Economics (University of California, Riverside), and a Masters degree in School Administration and Supervision from California State University, East Bay.
Also joining the OHK board is Justin Gagnon of Danville, an entrepreneur and CEO of Choicelunch, a San Ramon based healthy school lunch company serving 300 schools throughout California. Justin was named the “Most Admired CEO” by the San Francisco Business Times in 2011, and was a semi-finalist for the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” awards from 2012-2014. In 2011, he participated in a White House Business Council forum discussion on job creation in the United States with senior administration officials. He has a degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Notre Dame.
Open Heart Kitchen feeds the hungry every weekday as an interfaith effort, and serves more than 260,000 meals annually. There is no qualifying process to receive meals. Meals can be eaten at OHK’s multiple serving sites, or taken to go. OHK works in cooperation with the Alameda County Community Food Bank, more than a dozen local food pantries, and various Tri-Valley non-profits with missions to promote nutrition and hunger relief.