Santa Clara University

Room number: 56

Delivering for the muffin people

Chuck Blay '65 MBA '69

Last year Chuck Blay ‘65 MBA ’69 became involved with a Jesuit organization, Companions in Ignatian Service and Spirituality (CISS). It provided just the impetus for him to seek a way to help the less fortunate. The CISS group is made up of women and men, age 50 and over, who dedicate themselves to service and spirituality in the tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The Companions, serves a unique purpose, recognizing “the real thirst and need for older Catholics who have the time and desire to give back and reconnect with work with the poor.” The Companions program includes both spiritual exercises and the volunteer work. Chuck volunteers with the Muffin People.

The Muffin People, based at St. Monica Parish in Moraga, are a group of parishioners who for the past 23 years collect day-old baked goods and food donations from local bakeries and supermarkets to help feed the hungry in Oakland.

On a typical volunteer day, Chuck will leave his Moraga home at 7:15 a.m., making his first stop at the Starbucks in nearby Rheem, to pick up day-old pastries. Then it’s off to Lafayette to Diablo Foods; to Lunardi’s in Pleasant Hill — “lots of dairy there” and a Starbucks.  About 9 a.m., he’ll meet up with his Muffin People partner at Trader Joe’s in Lafayette. By the time they’re finished loading food that includes produce, meat and dairy at Trader Joe’s, the front seat and bed of his Mazda pickup will be full.

Chuck has come to know the needs of the recipients. He reserves donations in the front seat of his truck for his first stop at A Friendly Manor in Oakland, which can use pastries and takes the sliced bread.  He knows a good deal of his haul will be used by the chefs at St. Mary’s Center, Oakland, and the goods that require refrigeration will find a home at St. Mary’s Gardens. Mother Wright’s will know what to do with the rest.
In this volunteer work, he puts into practice understanding the needs of the poor and marginalized.

Chuck notes “To have the opportunity to serve others is a two fold blessing: those in need receive bodily nourishment and we receive the constant reminder of well we are blessed.”