Last week, Food Not Bombs (FNB) celebrated 17 years in Davis. FNB is group of volunteers that are dedicated to serving free vegan and vegetarian food to the Davis community.
The organization has a group of chapters all around the United States. FNB Davis was created in the winter of 1996. One of the founding volunteers, Roger Ford, has been volunteering the longest at FNB Davis. He is currently the main volunteer with two other volunteers that help him pick up and prepare the food every week.
“Davis students and residents got involved and started FNB 17 years ago,” Ford said. “Once members started leaving, I kept it going. I learned how to cook.”
Their ideology is to protest violence and poverty by serving food to anyone in the community, with the main goal being to take waste from organizations and distribute it to the public. FNB takes waste from the Davis Food Co-op as well as Delta of Venus and the Village Bakery.
“Everyone is struggling to get food, at least once in their lifetime,” Ford said. “Community meals really can help.”
FNB Davis meets every Sunday, no matter the weather — rain or shine. The volunteers go the Davis Food Co-op every Saturday night to get the food that would otherwise be thrown out. Sunday morning, volunteers meet at a private location where they cook the food and serve it at Central Park at 1 p.m.
“It is a very peaceful gathering, like a picnic. We have a clean up station,” Ford said. “People feel welcome because they can help themselves to seconds and are able to clean up after themselves.”
In the past years, the FNB Davis chapter has had benefit shows with suggested donations. These benefits have local bands play and help give awareness to the organization.
“FNB seems like a really good organization that takes in the values of helping out the community,” said Eddie Saldana, a second-year electrical engineering major. “I see them every Sunday in rain or shine, it’s impressive.”
Only three volunteers are left. Ford said that they are in major need of help with transportation to pick up the donations as well as with cooking and cleaning up the food.
All different types of people come and enjoy the food every Sunday, including construction workers, homeless people and people with jobs. Mark Nelmida, a second-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major, just recently discovered FNB.
“This is my first time. I am interested in volunteering,” Nelmida said. “I’ve met a lot of interesting people and this is definitely helping people out who are in loss of finding food.”
Ford emphasized that the FNB Davis chapter is one of the smaller chapters in the country. The San Francisco chapter is much larger in terms of volunteers and people who come for the food. They serve twice a day, every day of the week.
Ford said that there are other organizations in Davis that offer more than food to help the community. Grace in Action, a faith-based organization that reaches out to the needs of the homeless, offers food, clothing and spiritual companionship. FNB and Grace in Action have collaborated before.
“We don’t know who will come. Sometimes one person comes, sometimes 10. Anyone can come to eat,” Ford said. “Nobody is taking away from anybody else by eating the food. My hope is to keep doing it and that more people will get involved.”
KAMILA KUDELSKA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.