Alameda Peeps are Unstoppably Generous
Alameda Peeps are unstoppably generous when it counts.
Alameda Peeps moderator John-Michael Kyono sees the site as a force for good.
Photo by Megan Small
If you’re an Alamedan, chances are you know an Alameda Peep. What’s a Peep? Technically, it’s a disgusting marshmallow candy shaped like a chicken, but it’s also the affectionate term for people you like (“my peeps”), and the name of a popular group on Facebook.
The group started back in 2010 and grew slowly, but in the past year has really come into its own. More than 3,000 Peeps call the group home. Moderator John-Michael Kyono, an independent real estate salesman and broker, lives in Alameda with his family and took over the reins of the group last spring. Since then, he’s found Alameda Peeps to be more than just a handful of people who live in Alameda.
“It takes up a lot of my time,” he admitted, “and my time is valuable. If I’m going to commit to [moderating], I want to get something out of it. I don’t take the goodwill of the group lightly.” What Kyono gets from Peeps is positivity—a group that’s a force for good in Alameda.
And that’s not easy, considering how the group has doubled since he took over, with more people requesting membership daily. Peeps can be loud, messy, profane, rude, snarky, and petty—like many of our friends and relatives. But their generosity is unstoppable when Alameda is in need.
Under Kyono’s direction, Peeps began holding “cash mobs,” that is, supporting a local business with a one-day swarm of patronage from Peeps. When a food barrel was stolen from one Peep’s porch on Halloween, in fewer than 24 hours, Peeps donated 260 pounds of food to replace it. The Alameda Food Bank was short on turkeys the week before Thanksgiving, and Peeps flocked to provide. The numbers leapt almost overnight to more than 1,000 turkeys for hungry Alamedans. Peeps likewise filled barrels in December at the fire stations with goods for Toys for Tots, and in January, donated grocery bags full of hygiene supplies for the women at Midway Shelter.
If a Peep is ill and needs a meal, if a Peep needs a jump for a dead battery, or a ride to the airport, a simple request will make it happen. Kyono said he’s always amazed at how Peeps reach out to help each other.
Of course, the posts get sassy, too. Kyono said he doesn’t censor anyone (that’s one reason the group is 18 and older), but he doesn’t allow personal attacks, racist or otherwise. Gossip and hearsay get taken down; however, personal anecdotes about where to get an oil change, who delivers pizza after 9 p.m., or who serves the best burger in town go full-throttle.
“Life is really too short to get caught up in stuff,” Kyono said. “In the moment, [postings] get really crazy, but it’s over in 48 hours.”
Alameda Peeps isn’t the only Facebook page out there. If Peeps isn’t to your taste, try The Beauty of Alameda; What’s Happening Alameda (WHA); Alameda: Where Hipsters Come to Breed; Alameda 94501; Alameda Unite; Alameda PLAN; or where Peeps go when they’ve been naughty, Alameda Poops.