Living Jazz, an Oakland organization devoted to the empowerment of people through music, has partnered with the West Oakland Food Pantry to provide live music to people waiting in line to receive food at the pantry. The series is called Pickup Sessions and the first official performance will include Black London, a collective of Kev Choice, Mike Blankenship and Howard Wiley.
Performances are meant to lift the spirits of those standing in line for food and other essential supplies and to turn that experience into a “dignified musical celebration,” Living Jazz Director Lyz Luke said in a news release. The first event will be Saturday between 11:15 a.m. and 2 p.m. on 10th Street at Peralta and Campbell in Oakland’s Lower Bottoms neighborhood, a neighborhood known as a center of West Coast blues, jazz, funk, soul and R&B.
Luke came up with the idea for Pickup Sessions after COVID-19 forced Living Jazz to lay off dozens of musicians and, while quarantining, she noticed a long line of people for the West Oakland Food Pantry wrapping around her block pithing nothing to do but wait.
The West Oakland Food Pantry was founded in 2007 and is a food safety net to many, distributing about 50,000 pounds of food and supplies to about 2,500 people each week.