OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – Some call him a one man food army. He’s an Oakland pastor who drives more than a thousand miles a week delivering food to needy families in low income neighborhoods in Alameda County. Sharon Chin introduces us to this week’s Jefferson Award winner.
Pastor Chuck Mayfield is a chaplain for the Oakland Police Department. He’s a retired supervisor at the Alameda Naval Air Station.
But but 80-year-old Pastor Mayfield is perhaps best known for the free food he gives away seven days a week. On one particular day, he brought fresh produce to unemployed Vernessa Kelly.
“For him to think about me because he doesn’t have to think about me, that means a lot,” said Kelly.
Pastor Mayfield has distributed food to needy families since 1992 through his Oakland nonprofit, C.G. and M. Ministries.
It stands for “Chuck, Goodness, and Mayfield.”
He started the program at Victory Baptist Church in Oakland.
“Oh, I just like to make people happy,” Mayfield said. “It makes me feel good.”
In 1996, he started driving around to low-income communities in Alameda County.
When we visited him he parked his packed van and start greeting the neighbors.
He would say, “Excuse me, would you guys need anything to eat today?”
Deborah Jenkins and her sister-in-law felt grateful for the food they recently received from him in their Oakland neighborhood.
“It’s really nice,” Jenkins said. “There’s a lot of people here don’t have nothing to eat.”
Pastor Mayfield usually gets up at 4 o’clock in the morning to load up donations from Blackhawk and Danville grocery chains.
Each day, he logs 150 miles fulfilling phoned-in requests for home deliveries.
Clark Stone has volunteered alongside Pastor Mayfield for 15 years.
“He’ll go out of his way all day. I get tired and I’ll tell him, ‘Chuck, it’s time.’ ‘No, we got a few more. Who else can you think of that might need something?’” Stone said. “He’s that kind of person. He wants to keep going like the Energizer Bunny.”
Pastor Mayfield also gives away donations he gets from the Alameda County Community Food Bank.
He has inspired its executive director, Suzan Bateson.
“He gets to people our agencies can’t get to,” said Bateson. “He hands out love in an enormous dose.”
If you ask him why he volunteers, his answer is simple.
“I want to give you something to show my appreciation for you being here in this earth existing with me,” he explained.
So for feeding East Bay families for two decades, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Pastor Chuck Mayfield.