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How the Food Bank Works

The Food Bank plays a unique role in the work to end hunger in San Francisco and Marin. Hundreds of organizations rely on the food and social service expertise we provide to run their meal, snack and grocery programs. This year, we'll distribute 47 million pounds of food — enough for more than 100,000 meals each day.

Here's a quick look at how it all works.
  • We collect millions of pounds of food

    Our food comes from a wide variety of sources, both donated and purchased.

    • Millions of pounds of fresh, seasonal produce come from the California Association of Food Banks' Farm to Family program, which connects growers with local food banks.
    • National food manufacturers and distributors donate truckloads of products that round out our inventory.
    • Our Fresh Rescue program collects food from local supermarkets that would otherwise go to waste.
    • Our Food & Fund Drives collect nonperishable foods in the barrels you see all around the community.
    • We also make supplemental purchases of foods like grains, proteins and dairy to ensure pantry distributions offer a nutritionally balanced array of food.
  • Volunteers help pack at the warehouse

    Once in our warehouses, the food is sorted and packed by volunteer crews. Individuals and teams work together to make sure produce is quickly packed so it’s still fresh when it arrives at our partner programs and pantries, and bulk quantities of foods like rice and beans are repacked into family-sized portions. The work of our 30,000 volunteers last year was equivalent to 70 full-time staff.

  • The food goes to partners and pantries

    The Food Bank supplies food for a network of 450 partner organizations, including our 240 neighborhood pantries. Some partners come to our warehouse to pick up supplies, but most of the food is loaded onto our fleet of 17 trucks and delivered to sites across San Francisco and Marin.

  • People come for meals or groceries

    Some of our partners run hot meals programs, including groups like Project Open Hand, St. Anthony's and Glide in San Francisco, and St. Vincent de Paul in Marin. Others oversee snack programs, home-delivered grocery services and small meal programs. Over 70% of the food we distribute goes to our 240 farmer's market-style pantries that serve an average of 30,000 households each week, providing people with healthy foods they can prepare at home.