True Vine Gives A Healthy Dose of Love to Oaklanders

By Chanelle Bell

Dr. Donna Carey (left) and her husband Pastor Zachary Carey. Photo by Jesse Brooks.

True Vine Ministries, a church that is truly a servant to the Oakland community, hosted their annual Block Party/Health Fair this past Saturday at their bible institute on 896 Isabella in West Oakland.

The event was wildly successful offering up free clothing, health screenings, take home food bags, and delicious home cooked soul food and BBQ. Mamma Sallie the Outreach Ministries Administrator and also the mother of Pastor Zachary Carey commented on the turn out saying, “We served 15,000 plates of food, it is truly a blessing. The Lord loves cheerful caregivers, when you give to your neighbor you are giving to the Lord. I love what we do at True Vine”.

Pastor Zachary Carey has been the True Vine Pastor for 11 years and has seen the desolation of Oakland due to poverty and violence. Every Sunday he encourages his ministry to “Live your faith out loud”. Pastor Carey doesn’t just talk the good talk he has a mighty fine strut. True Vine has hosted 32 block parties in Oakland, “The block parties provide opportunities to show the community the love of Jesus by our actions”. The event was such a hit that the police stopped by to get a plate of food because it was such a slow crime day.

Dr. Donna Carey, a pediatrician and the Medical Director of Pediatric Hospitalist Program and Neonatal ICU at Emmanuel Medical Center, is not only True Vine’s First Lady but she is also a Oakland Health advocate for the African Americans. In 2002 she added the Health Fair portion to the True Vine Block Party, “There are so many members in our community who don’t have health insurance and don’t have the resources to even get their blood pressure checked. Blood pressure is the silent killer and people are walking around like time bombs because they are unaware that they are at risk,” said Dr. Carey.

The Health Fair presents Doctors such as Dr. Michael Bell, an Attending Emergency Physician at Children’s Hospital, who checks blood pressure, blood sugar, diabetes, cholesterol, gives dental screenings, and HIV education.

Dr. Bell who has participated in the fair since its conception said, “We as African Americans need to do a lot better job at taking care of our bodies.” Since the addition of the Health Fair there has been a noticeable change in attendees.

Dr Carey said, “When we initially started the Health Fair we had to drag people to get screened. I see the difference in the community. We started 8 screening and it has grown to 65.”

Pastor Zachary Carey said they have many youth groups that are trained to be non violent activists and peacekeepers in Oakland.

For more information go to, call (510) 208-4565 or email