Welcome to BANANAS!

We’re a nonprofit child care resource and referral agency serving the diverse families in Northern Alameda County. We offer workshops, classes, and support groups for parents and caregivers, and help connect families with all types of child care options, from babysitters and nannies to preschools and family child care centers.

Our Mission

Partnering with families and child care providers to raise happy, confident children.

Why People Love Us

As soon as you walk through our front door, you will see that we are not your typical resource and referral center. At any given time there are children busily exploring the BANANAS Playroom, parents stocking up on books and toys from our free boutique, and families meeting with counselors to find the perfect child care fit. We offer person-to-person, individualized support in a friendly and welcoming environment that is inclusive of all people.

Why We’re Unique

  • We offer services and support in nine different languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Amharic, and Thai.
  • There are no sign-in sheets or appointments necessary. We welcome drop-in clients during all business hours, except on Fridays.
  • Kids are encouraged to come in and play, color, and read while family members meet with counselors and payment coordinators.
  • BANANAS was founded in the ’70s by a group of moms who believed that everyone should have access to affordable child care, regardless of income. They formed a grassroots movement that eventually inspired resource and referral agencies in every county in California.

Where Our Name Came From

We get this question a lot and the answer has three parts. The founding mothers of our organization chose the name BANANAS, first, because their children were eating lots of bananas. Secondly, they sometimes felt that they were going “bananas” with the 24/7 challenges of parenthood. And thirdly, they wanted a name that was child-friendly, memorable, and in no way bureaucratic.

As an interesting trivia fact, the original name was “BANANAS: A Place to Find Playmates,” but it was changed after we received numerous calls from adults requesting friends for themselves and not their children. Thank goodness this happened before the internet—just imagine what we might have found in our inbox!