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Lemons into lemonade: Benefiting Alameda County Community Food Bank

We want to turn an ugly incident into something good. Donate to Alameda County Community Food Bank online today by clicking the link below this summary, or bring canned food items or cash to Wednesday home games at the Coliseum.

Ground hunger into a double play.
Ground hunger into a double play.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Give to Alameda County Community Food Bank today (link).

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported after Saturday's game that Athletics pitcher Jim Johnson's wife, Elizabeth, was "subjected to boos and insults while helping at a charity food drive Wednesday at the Coliseum." Obviously, subjecting a player's family to such boorish behavior is completely out of line and does not reflect what I feel the Athletics fan base is about.

However, rather than subject you to a missive about why this bad thing was bad, we at Athletics Nation would like to take the opportunity, as an Athletics fan community, to turn this sour event into something sweet for the very people Elizabeth Johnson was helping out. To turn lemons into lemonade, to coin a phrase.

Bring canned food or money to a Wednesday home game

Elizabeth Johnson was helping the A's collect donations for Alameda County Community Food Bank, a nonprofit organization that is "the hub of a vast collection and distribution network that provides food for 240 nonprofit agencies in Alameda County. In 2012, the Food Bank distributed 23.2 million pounds of food, 53% of it fresh fruits and vegetables." The food bank serves 49,000 people, including 21,000 children and teens, each week through its member agencies.

On Wednesday home games for the rest of the regular season, fans can bring five food items or donate $5 and receive a 2-for-1 plaza level ticket voucher for a future home game. Since 2008 the A's have collected over 8,000 pounds of food and raised $20,000 for the Food Bank, according to this month's A's Community Report.

Donate to the Food Bank through our virtual food drive

Not everyone can make it to Wednesday games, so we're starting what the Food Bank calls a "virtual food drive" where you can make a donation that helps the Food Bank even more than a can of food does. $1 given to the Food Bank turns into approximately $4 worth of food because of the Food Bank's bulk purchasing power. By visiting our campaign home page (link), and clicking the "shop/donate" button, you'll be able to see just how far your dollar will go, such as:

  • $10.53 to buy 24 8-oz 1% milk boxes that retail for $36.72
  • $30.00 to transport 300 pounds of donated fresh produce that would retail for $457.06, or
  • $80.00 to buy 20 family meals that would retail for $367.80.

You can "buy in bulk" or choose your amount to donate. Whether it's a tax-deductible donation of $5 or $100, every little bit helps to ensure no one in Alameda County goes hungry. We've set a goal of $500 $1,000 $4,545 (Jim Johnson's number twice), but we hope our estimate of an appropriate goal is wildly short of what the Athletics Nation community can do. We'll update you on our progress as the season moves along.

UPDATE (5:22 PM)


We did it! That's a Jim Johnson triple play there! Of course, you can continue to give, but this will be it for the updates to this post. Thank you everyone!

UPDATE (4:30 PM) - We're at $3,839.92, only $660.08 from reaching our goal of $4,545 today! See the additional update below our thank yous for a message from Elizabeth Johnson.

UPDATE (10:20 AM) - Alright let's do this. We're up to $1,084.39, so let's have some fun with this. We're going for a Jim Johnson double play. Let's raise his number twice. New goal: $4,545!

UPDATE (9:20 AM) - We're happy to be wrong. We're already over $400 in donations to Alameda County Community Food Bank, and our campaign isn't even 3 hours old! We're going to try to stretch for $1,000. Hope we're still underestimating here.

For more information about the Food Bank's programs, including volunteer opportunities in their warehouse and Emergency Food Help Line at Oakland International Airport, visit

Thank you

Thank you Elizabeth Johnson and the rest of the A's player families and A's community relations volunteers and staff for their efforts to help Alameda County Community Food Bank. We'd also like to thank frequent commenter zuma for the wonderful suggestion of getting something like this started.

Finally, we'd like to thank everyone who contributes to Athletics Nation, whether it's as a lurker, commenter, moderator, or writer. Whether or not you're in a position to give at the Coliseum at Wednesday home games or online through the virtual food drive, thank you for making Athletics Nation a community we all can be proud to be a part of.

Update: A message from Elizabeth Johnson and Eireann Dolan (4:30 pm)

A little while ago, Eireann Dolan, Sean Doolittle's girlfriend, forwarded me these remarks from Elizabeth Johnson, who is absolutely thrilled with the response to our campaign:

I just want to say that everyone wants Jim to perform well and have a successful year. He's the hardest worker I know, one of the first guys to the field everyday and one of the last to leave. He always gives it his best and wants to do better for the fans. Jim won't give up and he will be back! Go A's!

Eireann adds that herself and the rest of the A's wives and girlfriends are all thrilled by our performance, and that we've raised more money that they did last Wednesday! We're standing at $3,839.92 with help from our members and from our friends at Reddit's /r/OaklandAthletics. We're only $660.08 from reaching our goal of $4,545 today! Let's do this A's fans!