Throughout December, we’ll be publishing our Best of the Bay 2020 Editors’ Picks, highlighting some of the tremendous people, places, and things that made the Bay Area shine during one heck of a year. View the growing list below—and see our Best of the Bay 2020 Readers Poll winners and our Readers Stories of Resilience here.
There’s just something about a free tamale meal. Mission Meals Coalition (www.missionmealscoalition.org) knows it, and paired with La Guerrera’s Kitchen back in July to dole out bags of said cornhusk-clad delicacies with chips, salsas, water, and love at Oakland brewpub Ale Industries. But that’s just one example of what the food equity organization organization has got up to since its founding by sisters Gabriela and Xiomara Alemán and their friend María Castro Noboa at the start of the coronavirus crisis. “We had to make sure the elders in our community had access to hot meals,” Gabriela told 48 Hills.
Their dedication to their community grew into a mind-blowing operation comprised of meal and grocery deliveries, as well as the People’s Pantry, a community fridge stocked to the brim with comestibles donated by local food companies that is accessible to anyone who needs a bite. The organization’s core crew is comprised of community groups Chavalos de Aquí y Allá, VisibiliT, and CALMA, and small businesses that have stepped in to provide the foodstuffs; Eterna Primavera Bakery, El Faro Mexican Food, La Guerrera’s Kitchen, and Tacos El Precioso. Key to Mission Meals’, well, mission, is the fact that the people running the operation hail from the same community as those they are serving.
The organization is run by Black and Brown queers, a fact that has made it easier to make sure that the services they are offering are congruent with the services that are needed. (This goes all the way to political affiliation—after Goya Foods president Robert Unanue called the US “blessed” to have Trump in the White House, Mission Meals joined the nationwide boycott of the brand in support of the Latinx who have been deeply harmed by Trump’s policies.) Driven by donations, by the time summer rolled around MMC was delivering food to close to 2,000 households a month. —Caitlin Donohue and Carlos Cabrera-Lomelí