President Dudley Thompson called to order the 5,367th meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland to order at 12:30 p.m. He recognized Wayne Goodroe who announced that long-time member Bob Peltz, who was attending his first in-person meeting since 2020, celebrated his 90th birthday on December 7th.
Due to last week's tech glitches, President Dudley re-recognized all of last week's bell ringers on Zoom. Kim Cohn rang the bell for meeting speaker Scott Stephens and her father, Don Cohn, a 40-year professional in fire management who was attending via Zoom, for their critical work.
Kerry Hamill shared two food and hunger thoughts: hunger is not a charity issue, it is a justice issue (U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization) and "Food is national security, Food is economy. Food is history. Food is everything." (Jose Andres, World Central Kitchen founder)
C J Hirschfield introduced Chris and Jana Pastena. Chris Pastena has been in the restaurant business for 35 years and is the owner/operator of Oakland restaurants Calavera and Chop Bar. His previous restaurants included Tribune Tavern and Lungomare. He is a James Beard award winner. Jana Pastena is a graduate of Mills College and Golden Gate Law School. She serves on the Children's Fairyland board of directors.
Jana's connection to food and social justice goes back to her childhood when she helped deliver food baskets during the holidays. During the pandemic shutdown, Chris and Jana paid their staff and continued health insurance coverage until their savings and resources were exhausted.
Prior to the pandemic, Chris had no experience in preparing hundreds of meals to go. He and his staff worked with World Central Kitchen, founded by chef Jose Andres, and learned how to produce a large volume of meals, helping them to retain staff and keep the restaurant doors open.
Chris and Jana are now involved in the local Community Kitchens which is a collective of restaurants whose mission is to feed the community. The organization serves 10,000 meals each month with a goal of serving 10,000 meals per day. Partner restaurants add a 1% surcharge to guest checks and these funds help provide meals for the local community. If the group receives sufficient funding from Alameda County, it can solve the food insecurity crisis in the county.
Allison Bliss introduced her guest, Kacie Stratton, Executive Director of Harbor House.
Jason Wizelman, substituting for sponsor Wendy Howard, introduced Mary Ray Brophy. Mary Ray is an immigration attorney. Wendy's two interesting facts: she speaks Spanish and has seven grandchildren. Welcome, Mary Ray!
President Dudley announced eight upcoming club events:
1. Niles Canyon Holiday Train - Oakland members joined a train full of other local Rotarians (and Santa) for a beautiful holiday train ride last Thursday.
2. December 16 - Annual Meeting to elect directors and the president-elect-nominee
3. December 23 & 30 - no lunch meetings
4. January 6 - first meeting of 2022 with Mayor Libby Schaaf and District Governor Richard Flanders
5. January 7 – Stand Up Broadway Comedy Night at the Sound Room, Oakland.
6. January 15 - High Adventure visit to the Pacific Pinball Museum, Alameda
7. February 3 - Lunar New Year dinner at Peony Seafood Restaurant, Oakland
8. February 27 - Dinner with RI president-elect Jennifer Jones at Blackhawk Museum, Danville
C J Hirschfield kicked off the 2021 Feed the Hungry campaign by reporting that food insecurity continues due to increasing demand and surging food costs. The Alameda County Community Food Bank serves 70,000 people each day. One in four Alameda County residents faces food insecurity. President Dudley then firmly grasped the gavel in anticipation of the forthcoming bellringers. The bell rang for about 15 minutes with countless donations.
Wayne Goodroe rang the bell twice (2) in honor of Bob Peltz celebrating his 90th birthday. Lorna Padia Markus rang the bell on behalf of all the wonderful Rotarians in the room, online and their generosity.
President Dudley adjourned the penultimate meeting of 2021 at 1:30 p.m.
Click here to watch Chris and Jana Pastena video segment
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