Letters for the Week of January 15

Readers sound off on sex ed in Oakland schools, how to tackle food waste, and an underappreciated theater.

“The Best Movies of 2013,” Feature, 1/1

Underappreciated Theater

I appreciated your story on the best films of the year, but I do have one correction. Under the category of the “Five Excellent Films You Didn’t See This Year (Yet)” you said that Costa-Gavras’ Capital “never got an East Bay booking.” Well, I did see it, and in the East Bay no less, at Point Richmond’s Magick Lantern Theater. Yes, it was only one weekend, and yes, it is a tiny little hole-in-the-wall theater — but it is a great place to see some excellent films, many of which might be hard to see otherwise (case in point!). Perhaps it is a place that should be on your radar: TheMagickLantern.com

Avilee Goodwin, Richmond

Kelly Vance Responds

Thanks for the update, Avilee. My mistake. This points up the need for film fans — and reviewers — to think outside the multiplex when searching for challenging movie entertainment. It’s there, but you’ve got to look hard for it. Hats off (and apologies) to the Magick Lantern Theater. I’ll see you at the movies.

“Sex Ed Still Lags in Oakland Schools,” News, 1/1

Knowledge Leads to Healthy Decisions

Thank you for focusing on the importance of comprehensive health education in high schools. I hope to provide more information on Peer Health Exchange, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide teens with the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy decisions. We do this by training college students to teach a health curriculum in public high schools, including eleven partner schools in Oakland that are committed to providing their students with access to critical health information.  

During 2013-2014 we are serving over 1,600 ninth graders in OUSD, including the entire freshman class at both Skyline and Castlemont high schools, two partners of ours that are highlighted in this article. Peer Health Exchange’s curriculum is composed of thirteen workshops covering sexual health (including individual workshops on sexual decision making, pregnancy prevention, STIS & HIV, rape and sexual assault, healthy relationships, and abusive relationships), substance use and abuse, mental health, and nutrition — all with a focus on communication and decision-making skills. Our sexual health workshops include a condom demonstration as well as information on other most commonly used contraceptives. We hope that advocacy for comprehensive health education in high schools will continue to grow so that all teens can have access to the knowledge and skills they need to make a healthy decisions.  

Emily Gasner, Bay Area executive director,
Peer Health Exchange, San Francisco

“Measuring Food Waste,” Feature, 12/4

Volunteers Make a Difference

First, I’m so pleased to see that the Express is devoting attention to the issue of food waste. Food waste hurts in a number of ways, including loading up landfills and overusing resources, while others in our midst go hungry. Kudos and thanks to Jessica Carew Kraft for shedding light on the amount of grocery story excess that goes to waste.

I am coordinator of Daily Bread, an all-volunteer group that works with a variety of food vendors to bring their excess food to people in need. I’d like to emphasize the difference that volunteers really can make. This year alone, with fewer than ninety volunteers, and active participation of the Berkeley-Oakland­Kensington food vendor community, Daily Bread has collected and delivered more than 32 tons of food and 6,100 gallons of milk to centers such as Berkeley Food Pantry, Berkeley senior centers, drop-in day centers, Oakland community centers, Richmond churches and family programs, and shelters for adults and families that serve our community. I’d like to thank our dozens of donors, which include Semifreddi’s, La Farine, The Pasta Shop, Back to Earth Catering, Kensington Farmers’ Market, Chez Panisse, and Chipotle, to name a few, as well as Berkeley Bowl, Village Market, and Star Market. These vendors appreciate knowing their food is going to good use and not waste or landfill.

We’ve been doing this since 1983 when Carolyn North and a willing friend started making food deliveries. We’ve formed precisely the relationships mentioned in the article, all on our own, without even a bank account, let alone government infrastructure. See Daily Bread Berkeley on Facebook. I invite food vendors who would like us to redirect their excess perishable food, and anyone with an hour a week to spare delivering good food, to contact me at [email protected] 

Patrice Ignelzi, coordinator,
Daily Bread, Berkeley

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