By Bruce Naegel September 2018

Blockfest celebrates East Palo Alto service

Blockfest is an annual celebration of services available to the residents of East Palo Alto and other nearby cities. The Ecumenical Hunger Program (EHP) provides this forum every year. EHP supplies a wide range of services (food, appliances, furniture, clothing and beyond) to those in need.

Blockfest is a bridge for people who need services to directly interact with the suppliers of those services.  It also provides food and music. Sustainable Silicon Valley is now on its third year celebrating Blockfest with EHP. Here are some pictures from the 2018 Blockfest:

Blockfest is too big for one picture

The  picture above includes less than half of the 30 booths of services at Blockfest. The tables are crowded together. Each booth has 3 feet of space. This means a lot of activity in the space provided.

SSV Blockfest Booth,

The Carbon Burger Challenge and “Solar House”

Blockfest booth1
SSV Blockfest Booth picture 1

This photo shows SSV Volunteer Michelle Marin explaining the Carbon Burgers to a young booth visitor. The foreground contains“Solar House”, a demon model for solar and wind energy.

When the sun is shining on its solar cell, it supplies  three different electric loads.

  • A noise maker represents phones and electronic entertainment (computers, televisions, cell phones, etc)
  • A light bulb represents lighting
  • A fan represents Heating, Ventilation and Air ConditioningOne can also see a black roof panel on the “Solar House”. Th other roof panel is white and a “cool roof”. SSV measured a 15 degree difference between the “cool roof” and the black roof when the “Solar House” is in the sun.

Another SSV Blockfest  booth  picture

This picture shows a couple in the foreground being briefed on food choices. Food choices can make a difference in carbon from our meals. In the background one can see another visitor looking at “Solar House”.



Booth with Solar House and Carbon Burgers


A young Blockfest visitor lifts the “Carbon Burgers”:

The three “Carbon Burgers”  represent 3 food choices and how they affect the environment. The young man in the picture is lifting the Beef Burger replica, which weighs over 6 lbs. Six pounds is the amount of C02e (Carbon Dioxide equivalent)  it takes to make a beef burger patty. The burger replica on the far right is the Vege Burger, and it only weighs one half a pound. The middle burger replica   weights 1.4 lbs. This is the amount of C02e created by making a Turkey Burger.


Carbon burger challengr
The Carbon Burger Challenge

Being a vegetarian is the choice with the least carbon impact. If one cannot be a vegetarian all the time, then have some vegetarian meals. What is neat is vegetarians get tp see the beneifit of their diet.

 SSV, Cool Roof, and Solar Generated Electricity.

A few years ago, SSV worked with EHP and  Mitsubishi.  to provide a cool roof to the food distribution buliding. A cool roof  is  usually white and more reflective. This means less heat during the summertime.   The new roof prepared the roof for solar. The distribution center houses refrigerators and freezers,  and uses the most electricity.

Further analysis by SunWork determined the best place to put the solar array is on top of the warehouse. The warehouse has more roof area and , fewer obstructions on the roof. The roof is also tilted in the right direction. Based on that, SunWork placed the solar array on the warehouse.

So, how does solar on the warehouse supply electricity to the distribution building? PG&E provides a feature (Virtual NEM) enabking one to spread the electricity across all the buildings in the campus. So, the solar array on the warehouse cuts the electric bill for the whole campus.

The solar array from SunWork roof saves EHP over $10K per year in energy costs. That money can go to servicing EHP’s clientele.

Cool Roof and Solar Cells
Cool Roof and Solar Cells

Two of the SSV staff who participated in Blockfest this year,  were Yuan Gho and Mary Biswal. The Yellow T Shirt deserves a thank you as well.


Yuan Shirt and Mary
Yuan, Shirt and Mary



Blockfest Environmental Service Booths

Three other environementla organizations had booths at Blockfest. The first is the Air District (BAAQMD).  BAAQMD funds a number of initiatives for SSV and it is great to see them at BlocFest.

Canopy also participated in Blockfest. They are a regular partcipant at a number of local events. Their work add trees, sequesters carbon, adds beauty and shade.

The Mid Peninsula Open Space program is an independent special district in the San Francisco bay area. It has preserved a regional green belt system of over 63,000 acres of public land. It manages 26 open space preserves.

Other Blockfest booths:

One  participant was HIPhousingm  program providing lodging for those in need of a home by people who share their home. This home sharing often brings people together in special ways.

The other booth was for low cost computers. Organizations need a range of computer equipment. This organization takes donations and funds and builds computer systems.

So, there is a wide variety of booths at Blockfest.


Booth at Blockfest
Booth at Blockfest

 Blockfest Music

BEvery year the band  “Cross Cut Saw”, providese music for Blockfest. Cross Cut Saw plays blues, rythym and blues, soul and rock They have a great sound . They also played rock classics from the Beatles, the Stones, Chuck Berry, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.


blockfst Band
BlockFest Band


So, what is Next for Blockfest?

Blockfest will return next year based on the string of successes of each of the years. In the meantime, EHP will continue to service those in need in its service area.