In the spring of 1969, Dorothy Noble of Berkeley Friends Church opened a pantry in her home. On October 16, 1969, at her request, Berkeley Friends Church decided to house the pantry in their basement. There were 13 volunteers and ten substitutes at that time.
The pantry was a very small operation at first. Clients who received food had to have referrals from other churches or social agencies. Others were government agencies such as the Berkeley Welfare Office and Public Health. Some non government sources were the Red Cross and pastors of other churches.
As the years passed some of the agencies continued their ministry but changed their name, some referring agencies dropped out, and others were added. Some of the agencies now referring clients are the Berkeley Department of Health and Human Services, the Berkeley Department of Adult Mental Health Services, the Center for Independent Living, the Berkeley Food and Housing Project and BOSS.
The Berkeley Food Pantry relies on a combination of grants and donations (from individuals, churches, local businesses and other organizations) and currently serves approximately 21,000 individuals a year.