The communities that make up The Numbers are largely peaceful, affluent places. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that not very far away people live amongst poverty, hunger, and homelessness. Lafayette resident David Gerson is someone who sees that disparity on a regular basis.
Gerson spends his weekdays as executive director of Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa, a non-profit organization that operates five dining rooms along the Highway 4 corridor, which provide free meals and a safe environment for those in need.
He worked as a corporate tax lawyer for over two decades before he retired and took the helm of Loaves and Fishes in 2011. Gerson has steered an organization that was struggling with reduced funding and increased demand for services following the Great Recession toward greater stability. He has also been keen to forge partnerships with other government and non-profit organizations to turn Loaves and Fishes’ dining rooms into community resource centers that help connect those in need to other “safety net” services, like housing, health care, and job training.
He jokes that he is a “bleeding heart liberal” who’s affected by seeing other in need, but empathy and action are crucial to a caring community.