News From the Farm | October 26, 2015

Since 1992, Full Belly members and Clinic volunteers have supported delivery of 5 CSA boxes per week to clients of the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic in Oakland.  You can be a part of this program by letting us know that you want to donate one or more of your CSA boxes (for example when you are going out of town) or by making a direct contribution.  We currently have boxes scheduled through the end of 2015, but there are not sufficient funds to continue beyond that point.  A letter from one of the Charlotte Maxwell volunteers follows.

We want to express heartfelt gratitude from the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic to Full Belly CSA members.

The Charlotte Maxwell Clinic (CMC) provides free integrative care to low-income women with cancer. As a CMC volunteer and long-time Full Belly Farm CSA member, I am delighted to know that the women who come to CMC in Oakland can get the same life-sustaining produce that I am fortunate enough to receive every week in my own box from FBF. 

The clinic is in an elegant old building in downtown Oakland. Baskets of beautiful produce, arranged with care by the day’s shift coordinator provide the first welcome to women as they walk through the clinic door. All of the women we see at CMC are on a journey with cancer, an uninvited and difficult companion. Some are newly diagnosed or undergoing medical treatment. Some have left cancer behind, but still experience the after-effect of illness and treatment.  They are often providing care to others while trying to heal themselves. Every day they face the challenges of illness, low energy, and effects on their ability to work and support themselves that come with cancer diagnosis and treatment. Fresh organic produce, already unaffordable for many families, would be off the dinner table for most CMC clients.

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Charlotte Maxwell Clients 

Penny Marienthal, one of Charlotte Maxwell’s longtime volunteers, and a cancer survivor, picks up 5 CSA boxes each week to deliver to the Oakland clinic. These boxes are available to us based on donations from members as well as anyone who provides their boxes when going on vacation. We serve nearly 100 women each weekend. The produce is gone by the end of each shift, picked up by women who are as happy to get their fruits and veggies as FBF members are when we get ours. As a clinic volunteer I thank the farm and members for the continuing donations. I encourage members who are able, to pay for an extra box now and then so that CMC can continue to provide an abundance of the fresh, organic produce that provides nourishment to the body and delight to the senses. 

For more information about CMC, or to volunteer, please contact Kris Waller, Volunteer Services Manager, at

–Donna Odierna

Charlotte Maxwell Volunteer

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Full Belly Farm Produce displayed at the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic