With the annual Walnut Creek Community Service Day having become yet another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers of that event have pivoted, and are now holding an expanded Community Food Drive this Saturday at several locations in the city.
A food drive has always been part of Community Service Day, which was to have marked its 10th year with 40 to 50 various projects around the city. In the past few years, between 1,200 and 1,500 people turned out on the appointed day, which would have been this Saturday.
But Cindy Darling, a spokeswoman for Community Service Day, said the decision was made early in the planning stages this year that the various projects couldn't proceed as usual.
"As we were doing the early planning, we realized we couldn't do most of it in a way that is safe," Darling said. So the food drive element of the event was expanded this year, meeting an expanding need.
"With the pandemic, the need is greater than ever," said Darling, adding that the collected food will be taken to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano warehouse in North Concord.
There will be "pop-up" food drop-off stations Saturday starting at 9 a.m. at eight local grocery stores -- the Safeway stores downtown, at the Orchards at Walnut Creek shopping center at Ygnacio Valley Road and Oak Grove Road, on Tice Valley Boulevard near Rossmoor and in the Countrywood center at Treat Boulevard and Bancroft Road; the Whole Foods stores on Ygnacio Valley Road and downtown; the Nob Hill store in the Citrus Center on Oak Grove Road; and the Lunardi's store at Geary and Pleasant Hill roads.
There also will be drop-off points from 9 a.m. until noon at the Heather Farm Community Center and at the Gateway Clubhouse within Rossmoor.
Darling said virtual cash donations can be made by going to https://give.foodbankccs.org/team/313078; about $3,000 had been collected by Wednesday morning, Darling said.
This is the second time in four years that outside forces prompted major changes with Community Service Day. In October 2017, smoke from wildfires in the North Bay forced postponement of all planned outdoor projects -- mostly outdoor maintenance or cleanup work -- were postponed (indoor projects continued).