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Respecting Our Elders comes to Berkeley

Peggy Reskin
Peggy ReskinPeggy Reskin

Eight years ago, Ruth and Curt arrived at a decision to be the source for seniors serving seniors. It was pretty obvious that given the cost of food, that those people with whom they shared the senior community, could ill afford the $200-300 weekly cost of food. In 2005, They approached various grocery stores and farmers markets in Marin to ask for donations of food for seniors. They attracted a radical group of 50 volunteers who came to the stores and farmer's markets taking home with them the surplus, the items that would not, could not be sold the next day. Though the food was at its' prime, the expiration dates indicated that was the last day of sale. The volunteers sort out the food and distribute to local church and senior groups. Dropping off the food to the various communities, each of the senior volunteers take bags of groceries to other seniors they know can benefit from the fresh, often organic food.

That's how it started just 8 years ago. "Together we can change lives," was the essence of the work of Ruth and Curt Kincaid. Respecting Our Elders is a 501©3 that has had a tremendous impact in Marin. And now begins in Berkeley. It is a win win for sure. The stores and farmer's markets are relieved of the cost of disposing the good food, and have the tax benefit of their donation. The seniors who volunteer have the opportunity to bring fresh food, bread and fruit to the seniors who may not have the opportunity to leave their homes. In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act to encourage the donation of food and grocery products for distribution to needy individuals. In 2010 this Marin couple received the Jefferson Award for their outstanding contribution to seniors and to the communities of Marin who have benefited from their vision.

A pilot program begins this month in Berkeley. If you know of seniors who need food, or would like to be part of Respecting Our Elders in Berkeley, please make it known by emailing Stories to follow on the introduction of ROE in Berkeley.