We are delivering over 1,000 free meals in Berkeley today!

Dear friends of HelpBerkeley,

Today Wed 12/23, we will be delivering over 1,000 free holiday meals to many hundreds of addresses in Berkeley, Albany and Kensington!

This holiday run gathers a lot of firsts for us:

  • it is our largest delivery run ever!
  • it is our first holiday meal :slight_smile: (we had our first delivery on March 27 of this year…)
  • it is the first time we are packaging and bagging the meal ourselves: we started a new group of volunteer packers that already gathers over 30 members! It is a new skill for us, but we intend to hone it until it becomes as natural to us as the rest of our delivery process
  • it is the first time we work with Arnon Oren of Anaviv. Arnon has also become a sponsor of HelpBerkeley.org! He used to work at Chez Panisse and still caters some of Alice Waters’ events: we are thrilled that he generously accepted to work with us.

A few numbers:

  • over 1,000 free meals
  • 47 drivers involved in the event
  • 39 food packers
  • 4 pickup managers
  • 5 workflow dispatchers
  • 8 customer care volunteers
  • 3 operations managers
  • 3 driver coordinators

The most important, though, is that we have over 200 current active volunteers right now, who truly care about our members, and who want to use this event to show our members that they are not alone in this holiday season, but, rather, surrounded by friends and neighbors who are happy to sacrifice their free time during these holidays to show their concern and solicitude.

HelpBerkeley members, we love you! Happy Holidays!


Happy Holidays Michel!

I’m excitedly awaiting my special Xmas meals, I don’t have any holiday plans so this will be sweet. I’ve also $donated.

Kudos to you and all at HelpBerkeley+chef Oren for actualizing this amazing endeavor.

I have a question about the food packaging volunteer team, you wrote:
it is the first time we are packaging and bagging the meal ourselves: we started a new group of volunteer packers that already gathers over 30 members! It is a new skill for us, but we intend to hone it until it becomes as natural to us as the rest of our delivery process
I infer these HB volunteers are wearing (PPE) masks, gloves and practicing appropriate culinary hygiene perhaps supervised by someone with a food-handling license? Otherwise I would be concerned by this new facet of HelpBerkeley meals. I’m wondering if in your next email, you might say a little about food-hygiene being practiced by the packaging and bagging crew – other HelpBerkeley meal recipients might be having similar questions about it.

Thank you Michel for all that you do,
Merry (almost) Christmas!
Luna (Lynn) Orlando

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Thank you so much Michel for starting this and providing food and restaurants for seniors and those who are truly SIPing. I note that you mentioned that this is the first holiday meal. Wasn’t Thanksgiving the first holiday meal? I had one of those and truly appreciated it!

Happy holidays to you! Thank you for your kindness.


This is all so touching - thank you to All for your generous and caring hearts! :heart::green_heart::smiling_face_with_three_hearts::heart_eyes:

Luna, yes, all of this! i’m sure @MichelThouati can provide more details soon, but he is on-site all day today to help coordinate the smooth delivery of the meals.

Annie12, yes, there was a special meal for Thanksgiving! I think Michel meant “Holiday” in the sense of the special end-of-December holidays.

This list sounds like The Twelve Days of Christmas! Maybe someone could put it to the tune!
Happy Holidays, HelpBerkeley!!!
Virtual Hugs,

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Oh, I see. Thank you! Happy Holidays to you. I’m looking forward to my yummy meal!

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Hello Everyone,

We all can’t thank you enough for your effort in doing this. It really makes a difference for us. Sustenance for both the
the body and the heart.
The email is dated early in the morning, so you are all doing so much work.

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I don’t think I got the email about holiday meals. Is it too late?

Thank you nlh87, that’s good to know :hugs:

Another question:
Will my meals be delivered even if I’m unable to answer my phone timely when delivery volunteer calls? We were told meals will arrive between 10a-3p, be ready for a call. But I may need to be away from my phone at some point during that 5-hour span for shower or other necessity. HB delivery volunteer is welcome to leave meal packages outside the front door to my apt building if I don’t answer their call timely.

  • Luna
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Luna, if the volunteer is unable to reach you they will leave the meal at your front stoop, and we will have a picture of where it was left to help you find it. You likely will have a voicemail too. Enjoy, and warm wishes to you and yours!


Blessings to you for this incredible service that makes people feel wanted and loved and included in the fabric of life. Sincerely, William Martin

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Perfect! Thank you Leo :hugs:

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Can you tell me whether or not we’ll be receiving holiday meals today?

Thank you,



Hi Michel
Thank you for your work in this amazing endeavor. You are truly a local hero!
Happy holidays


We got ours. Thanks. But surprised that packing wasn’t done at the catering facility! What covid protections/protocols were in place for packing. (Asking because we have a very vulnerable person in our household.)

I’m so proud of all you do!!!
Just a request. Sent a check from John and Florence [edited for personal information]. Please deposit before year end!!

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@AndreR, the backup driver is on her way :slight_smile: