Community Involvement

Feeding the Poor: Loaves and Fishes, Newman Hall

Loaves and Fishes is an outreach program to the poor and homeless in the Berkeley-Oakland area. Their monthly activities include a community dinner on the first Saturday of each month and food programs at the Men’s and Women’s Shelters in Berkeley. Throughout the year they conduct special drives for canned food, school supplies, baby items, and sundries.

Principal Andrea Sessa: Volunteer Preparing for the Monthly Community Dinner, serving over 100 people. Andrea has been providing food preparation and hospitality for over 5 years.

Creek to Bay Day, Oakland

Creek to Bay Day is part of California and International Coastal Cleanup Day, which engages thousands of volunteers in trash removal and beautification of waterways and shorelines across California, the nation, and in about 100 participating countries. Volunteers in Oakland joined these efforts by acting locally to clean trash from and beautify Lake Merritt, the Oakland Estuary and 33 creek locations.

Principal Andrea Sessa and her son have participated in Dimond Park’s Sausal Creek, Creek Bay Day since 2004. Andrea is also providing pro bono design services for the replacement of a hiking trail accessed pedestrian bridge within the Sausal Creek Water Shed.

Parklets + International Park + ing Day

PARK(ing) Day is an annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world. The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!

Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Oakland

Since 1976, SVdP’s Free Dining Room has provided a hot meal to the hungry and homeless in one of the deepest pockets of poverty in Northern California. The Dining Room is the largest dining facility in Alameda County providing meals to the hungry five days a week. Located at the edge of Downtown Oakland and West Oakland, the Dining Room provides a critical community service:

  • Serving up to 700 hot meals per day to people in need.
  • Offering community service opportunities to over 2,000 volunteers who provide over 25,000 hours of support annually.

The Dining Room is a vital doorway to other social services for those whose lives are often at a standstill.

Principal Andrea Sessa volunteers to design and select the vegetables and herbs for the SVDP Kitchen Garden. Andrea taught Chef Robert Dorsey’s students from the Kitchen of Champions program how to prepare planting beds, plant plants and care for future plant growth.