St. Paul Lutheran Church

Oakland, CA

Alameda County Community Food Bank Recognizes St. Paul Lutheran for its Financial and Volunteer Contributions

Church’s Hunger Task Force Drives Fundraising Campaign to Meet Local Community’s Food Needs
OAKLAND, Calif., June , 2012

St. Paul Lutheran, an Oakland‐based congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, has been recognized by the Alameda County Community Food Bank for its commitment and exemplary service to the community. ” Serving 49,000 children, seniors and adults each week, the Food Bank recognized St. Paul Lutheran with one of the 2012 Hope Not Hunger Awards. The Awards recognize individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to the community, and are presented annually during the Food Bank’s spring “Empty Bowls” fundraising event. Empty Bowls 2012 was an outstanding success and the best attended! Over $100,000 was raised for the Food Bank’s hunger relief and advocacy efforts.

Led by its Hunger Task Force, St. Paul Lutheran raised $11,200 in 2011 for the Alameda County Community Food Bank though a variety of fundraising efforts. Such activities include a month‐long virtual food drive, sponsoring coffee hours after church, and attending the annual “Empty Bowls” fundraising event. The 2011 efforts mark a continued increase in its annual contribution, from $1,000 in 2009—the first year St. Paul Lutheran began raising money for the Alameda County Community Food Bank‐‐ to $9,600 in 2010. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans has matched funds for a portion of the Church’s fundraising efforts, which provide an added incentive for donations.

Church members also volunteer for monthly food sorting activities at the Food Bank’s Community Engagement Center, helping to quickly get thousands of meals to local families.

“We’re extremely grateful for St. Paul Lutheran and the vital support from our local faith‐based communities,” said Michael Altfest, communications manager for the Alameda County Community Food Bank. “The Food Bank serves one‐in‐six residents – including children, seniors and entire families – and the need is increasing. Together, with the support of the community, we’re able to better ensure that our neighbors have access to the healthy food that they need and deserve.”

In 2012, St. Paul fundraising activities for the Alameda County Food Bank will include an Oktoberfest dinner party at a private home on Friday, September 14th, and an auction and brunch at the St. Paul fellowship hall on Sunday, October 21st.

“With continued unemployment and budget cuts which have placed more people in poverty, Christian and faith communities serve an ever‐important role in meeting people’s basic needs for food and shelter,” said Pastor Ross Merkel of St. Paul Lutheran Church. “Our members’ ingenuity to create meaningful and fun events motivates our members to generously give to our local community.”

About St. Paul Lutheran Church

Saint Paul Lutheran Church of Oakland is one of the oldest Lutheran churches on the West Coast. Organized by a group of Swedish immigrants in January of 1887, the congregation has sought to serve both its immediate and wider community since that time. Committed to the rich liturgical and musical heritage of the Lutheran tradition, the congregation is equally committed to innovative and contemporary worship.

Like many urban churches, this community has struggled (and continues to struggle) with how to be the church in the city. We don't have all the answers, but we enjoy working together to discern them. Our active music program includes: bell choir, adult chancel choir, JOYFUL NOISE! kids' choir, and a junior chancel choir for middle school youth. In addition, there are active ministries with women, a parish AIDS ministry Task Force, commitments to AIDS orphans in Tanzania and street children in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; a Hunger Task Force that addresses local and global hunger issues. There is also an active Christian education program for both youth and adults, including adult confirmation classes where participants are encouraged to discern their own beliefs.

About the Alameda County Food Bank

Since 1985, the Alameda County Community Food Bank has been at the forefront of hunger‐relief efforts in the Bay Area. This year, the Food Bank will distribute 22 million pounds of food, more than half farm‐fresh produce. The Food Bank serves 1 in 6 Alameda County residents — two‐thirds of whom are children and seniors — by distributing food through a network of 275 food pantries, soup kitchens, and other community organizations. The Alameda County Community Food Bank is a nonprofit 501(c ) (3) organization. For more information, call (510) 635‐3663 or visit

Media Contacts:

Julie Merrill, St. Paul Lutheran Hunger Task Force Chair (510) 409‐0071,

Michael Altfest, Communications Manager Alameda County Community Food Bank (510) 635‐3663, x330, 


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