Brown Bag Making Homes Safe for Older Adults

As people grow older, they often face unexpected financial hardships. This usually comes from no longer having a regular monthly income from employment. At Mercy Brown Bag Program, we want every senior to enjoy the basic safety of living in a secure environment with enough food to survive. Through our program, we help fill the pantries and stomachs of thousands of hungry seniors. We do this on a volunteer basis because we know how essential basic safety is for any senior’s sense of value and well-being.

How the Brown Bag Program Works


Food insecurity impacts an alarming number of seniors. Nearly half of all seniors in Alameda County alone report that they cannot take care of their basic living needs. Due to limited financial and physical abilities, these seniors often feel helpless and don’t know where to seek assistance. That’s where the Mercy Brown Bag program steps in to handle a glaring need. For more than 40 years, volunteers of this program have lovingly packed and distributed bags full of healthy foods to seniors who need them.


We ensure our bags contain canned goods, lean proteins, fresh produce and healthy grains. These foods provide much-needed nutrition to help older adults stay as healthy as possible into their senior years. Many of the older people in this area can’t afford food because they expend all their resources just to pay rent. Some have disabilities, while others have low incomes, forcing them to choose between housing and food.


Saving Lives One Bag at a Time


Last year alone, we distributed more than 130,000 grocery bags filled with millions of pounds of food to seniors who might otherwise go hungry. We are highly committed to this cause because we value our seniors and know their importance to our community. Our team comprises more than 500 volunteers who are typically seniors. They donate countless hours to collect, sort and deliver food so that people don’t have to feel hungry anymore.


In addition to getting healthy food into the hands of those who desperately need it, we’re also actively involved in promoting senior-friendly legislative policy. We also encourage lawmakers to pass laws that will benefit low-income residents in our community. We think living without hunger is a fundamental right everyone is entitled to enjoy.


How to Get Involved


If you want to participate in our volunteer program, we welcome the extra hands! There are so many different ways you can offer your assistance. You can donate your time to help us fill brown bags, or you can distribute those bags to people in need. We also welcome volunteers who can help us translate written materials, help us organize special events, or organize bag drives. You can also donate food or money to help us fill critical needs in our communities. Contact us to learn more about our volunteer opportunities and how you can help reduce senior hunger.