Feeding Oakland
by Savannah Lira, Program Officer and Cecilia McQuaid, Intern
PVF recently spoke with Eat. Learn. Play.'s CEO Christopher Helfrich and long-time volunteer Cooper Smith on the organization's new initiative combating food insecurity. 
Founded in 2019 by NBA champion, Stephen Curry, and  entrepreneur, host, and bestselling author, Ayesha Curry, Eat. Learn. Play focuses on 3 pillars of a happy, healthy childhood: ending childhood hunger, ensuring students have access to a quality education, and providing safe places for all children to play and be active.
Months into their work, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and Oakland school's went online, eliminating the breakfast and lunches so many families depend on. The Oakland based non-profit immediately sprung into action and partnered with Jose Andres of World Central Kitchen to make sure no child went hungry.
Over the last 4 months, Eat. Learn. Play. and World Central Kitchen have engaged 125 local restaurants to make and distribute 75,000 high quality meals a week. This has provided 5 Billion total meals to Oakland residents in need.
"This is a defining moment in our world, and Eat. Learn. Play. is setting the tone for others in our community."
- Cooper Smith, Volunteer with Eat. Learn. Play. 
Ayesha and Stephen Curry
They rely on the expertise of community partners, including the  Oakland Unified School District and the Alameda County Community Food Bank, to identify Oakland's most vulnerable residents, including low-income children and families, the homeless, immigrants, youth in the foster system, the elderly, and health care and other essential workers. 
"They're the ones who can best assess how to make sure these meals go into the mouths of the people who need them most." 

- Christopher Helfrich, CEO of Eat. Learn. Play.
Food insecurity has been the sole focus over the last 4 months, but as students prepare to start the new school year, Eat. Learn. Play is looking to bring in the second pillar. With Oakland Unified School District online, students will  need access to reliable internet and Eat. Learn. Play is committed to providing students with the most effective  learning situation. 
"We're positioning ourselves to be here for the long term, for the families who need us."
PVF is proud to support the incredible work of Eat. Learn. Play. T heir commitment to feeding the community during COVID-19 and supporting students through distance learning is impressive and we look forward to their future. 
About the Editors
James Higa
James Higa, Executive Director, brings 28 years of executive experience from Silicon Valley, working with Steve Jobs to change the face of technology. He was at the birth of the personal computer revolution as a member of the original Macintosh team and was deeply involved in the creation of many products and services at Apple over 3 decades. He has a long history of public service as a board member of Stanford's Haas Center and in grassroots relief efforts.
Bill Somerville, Founder, has been in non-profit and philanthropic work for over 50 years. He was the director of a community foundation for 17 years, and in 1991, he founded Philanthropic Ventures Foundation. Bill has consulted at over 400 community foundations, on creative grantmaking and foundation operations. Bill is the author of  Grassroots Philanthropy: Field Notes of a Maverick Grantmaker
About PVF
PVF is a demonstration foundation practicing unique forms of grantmaking and innovative philanthropy. Our primary interest is in the creative and significant use of the philanthropic dollar.
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