OAKLAND (KCBS) – 400 low-income families in West Oakland are in danger of losing a vital food source, as the Oakland Food Pantry has been threatened with closure.

It’s an internal dispute that is threatening the pantry on Peralta Street. Greg Harland bought the building where it has been housed the last four years. He has served on the board of directors for the non-profit and has paid all the costs to run the pantry. Now he wants to start rent at $500 a month beginning in the new year.

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“I’m not expecting a lot of rent. Now that the pantry has money, I’m expecting the pantry to eventually start taking over all of its expenses.” Harland said.

He is no longer part of the organization and said he has spent $200,000 of his own money to keep operations going.

Board chair Maya Maravilla said they want to pay the rent, but she said Harland wants to raise it every three months until it’s market rate.

“If Mr. Harland would just agree to keep us in here for 30 days, we agree to pay him the rent he wants for those 30 days,” she said. “We could then find an additional space and keep the doors open.”

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The pantry has no lease so technically, it is not a tenant. Maravilla said she is going to court on Monday seeking an injunction.

Oakland Food Pantry Executive Director Ron Leggett said it has been difficult for everyone involved.

“There were clients out here crying on our last distribution day saying that they need this, that they can’t survive without it,” said Leggett. “They are the ones being hurt by all of this.”

Leggett said the pantry started out of a pickup truck before the building on Peralta Street was purchased.

The doors could close as early as Saturday.

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