Update 4/7: Due to Alameda County’s shelter-in-place order, The Market previously scheduled for April 21 has been cancelled.
In these trying times, one event was a success.
The Las Positas College Market was held on Tuesday, March 17. This event happened shortly after LPC decided to close its doors for the foreseeable future.
In the midst of panic buying due to the coronavirus pandemic, LPC’s Market still opened its doors and provided free fresh, boxed and canned foods to anyone that showed up. What was once anticipated to be a failure due to the campus closure, proved to be a success.
“Not sure how many, if anyone, will show up since school is closed,” Josué A. Hernández, the Program Coordinator of Student Life and Leadership, said.
Students, faculty and volunteers from Student Government, the Veterans First Program, Student Health and other organizations filled tables with canned fruit and vegetables, jars of peanut butter, packages of rice, beans and spaghetti. Pallets of fresh potatoes, onions, oranges, apples and pears were waiting to be distributed.
Since the campus had closed, the Student Life Office did more marketing than normal. For example, advertisements were placed on social media, e-mails were sent to all students and the information had been posted on the LPC website.
LPC students Ron Payne and Frank Polanco made a short video about the market and posted it on social media. Within minutes the video had gotten several likes.
The marketing had paid off. An hour before the market opened, people were already lined up.
Hernandez ended up not needing to worry if anyone was going to show up. In fact, over 200 people took advantage of the market. Some were LPC students, but most appeared to be the general public and residents from the local areas.
Many of the attendees were getting food for their families and elderly friends who are under Shelter in place restrictions and of high risk.
Some precautions had been taken to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All customers were required to use hand sanitizer, and the canned and packaged goods were distributed in the Student Life office.
People in line were cautioned to stand at least six feet from those in front of them. Only two people were allowed in the office at a time to allow a safe distance between patrons. Only gloved volunteers handled the food and placed the food in bags for the customers. People exited by the side door to prevent getting close to those waiting in line.
Fresh food was gone by 2 p.m. but canned goods and packaged food were available throughout the event, which was open until 3 p.m.
“Next time, we need to order more food to be distributed,” Polanco explained.
The market was a big success. The event allowed people to get food, some of which were not available in the grocery stores due to shortages. The next market is scheduled for April 21 and will be open to all.
Alan Lewis is the photo editor of The Express. Follow him @alolewis1.