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Bay Area Gets Fresh Air, Volunteers At Food Banks To Keep From Going Stir-Crazy

CONCORD (KPIX) - On the first official Saturday of the "shelter-in-place," and after nearly a week of being cooped up in their homes, a lot of people in Contra Costa County were out and about, looking for ways to keep from going stir-crazy.

Most of the normal things people might do on their weekends are no longer available.

Buchanan Fields Golf Course in Concord is closed even though it's supposed to be okay to play golf. But right next door is a chance to briefly get away from it all. The drive-up Java Detour offered a respite for a woman named Laurie who had been self-isolated for more than 3 weeks now.

"The house can't be any cleaner than it is," she said. "I've alphabetized everything in my file drawer. This is my one salvation, coming for caffeine. Otherwise it's been pretty…it's been pretty bad. I've tried to make the best of it."

Making the best of it might mean helping others. The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano has been scrambling to find enough volunteers to help sort and package groceries for an increasing number of needy people. Volunteering at a food bank is permitted. It has been deemed an "essential service." In fact, they may soon get help from the National Guard as food banks ramp up to help people who suddenly find themselves without a paycheck.

"I don't know, we've been stuck inside for a couple days and it's just nice to get out and give back," said San Ramon Valley High School student Claire Deely. When her shift at the food bank was finished, Deely said it just felt good to actually be productive.

"Sometimes you just feel lazy and you don't want to feel lazy all the time," she said. "You know, it's nice to relax but then it gets to a point where, wow, I can't watch any more TV. Like, what can we do now?"

The Iron Horse Trail in the Alamo/Danville area is normally a popular place for weekenders but now it's become a mental health superhighway. So many people are biking, strolling and dog walking that, at times, it can be a challenge to maintain 6 feet of space.

"I would say there's less people saying hi but everyone's still kind of friendly and smiling, but trying to keep their distance, too," said college student Tressa Schroth. She has spent the last two weeks in her Danville home where her parents are also working remotely. Her mother Elaine believes we are all getting a crash course in what may be a new way to work and socialize.

"I think it's made everybody very quickly tech-savvy in the last week with so many Zoom and GoTo meetings," she said. "And also getting people back on the phone again instead of just an email. I think there will be different ways that we'll have personal contact."

It's hard for some to believe it's only been one week since all the changes kicked in and makes them wonder what we'll be talking about seven days from now.

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