Oakland Leaf’s COVID-19 Response Efforts
Programming While Sheltering-In-Place
With the health and safety of our students and community as our top priority, Oakland Leaf transitioned all our programming online in March to align with the local shelter-in-place order. We immediately began facilitating virtual programming, including restorative justice circles, daily one-on-one check-ins with youth, and video tutorials and webinars. We centered our program themes of socio-emotional learning, critical thinking, creative expression, and leadership development, engaging students in fun and meaningful ways, while providing them with a sense of connection, community, and stability in a time of unprecedented social disconnection and uncertainty.
As part of our ongoing commitment to increase access to healthy food for our students and families, along with distributing fresh organic produce from our six community gardens, we partnered with Semifreddi’s Bakery and have been consistently distributing 600+ loaves of bread a week to families. We initiated our direct food distribution efforts, in part, to substitute for our school-based food pantries and the healthy snacks and meals provided in our after-school programs that our students no longer had access to when campuses were shut down. Oakland Leaf has also provided dozens of youth interns with the materials and guidance to create and cultivate bountiful home gardens. Interns are growing a range of veggies, herbs, and medicinal plants to feed and support the wellness of their families.
Basic Needs Supply Distribution
Oakland Leaf parents were barely able to make ends meet before COVID, and now they are feeling desperate and afraid. Families have lost jobs, homes, and loved ones to the pandemic. Many families in our community are going without the necessities of life – soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste – that most people take for granted. We receive daily supply donations and we make these supplies available to the East Oakland families who need them most. We distribute items with our food drop-offs and families can also pick up items from our Basic Needs Center, which is currently housed in an empty classroom at one of our Fruitvale neighborhood schools. Visit our donation page to learn about how you can help us build our Center.
Support for Families
Oakland Leaf staff compiled and disseminated a comprehensive list of resources and facilitated numerous group workshops and one-on-one meetings to help parents apply for unemployment, small business loans, and other resources. We also distributed hundreds of reusable masks in the Fruitvale and East Oakland, the neighborhoods with the highest COVID infection rates in the Bay Area.