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Media FAQs

Mark Seelig
(415) 282-1907, ext. 270

About our name

The organization’s full name, on first reference, is “SF-Marin Food Bank.” Upon second reference, we refer to ourselves simply as “the Food Bank.”

How many people are at risk of hunger?

In San Francisco and Marin, one in four faces the threat of hunger. This statistic is calculated using a common marker of need — the number of people living at or below 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. For a family of three, 185 percent of the federal poverty level means having an annual income of no more than $35,317 — a number that does not take into account the high cost of living in the Bay Area.    

What do you mean by “hunger”?

Hunger means a consistent lack of enough food to meet basic nutritional requirements. It can mean fewer meals each day and poor-quality food that is calorie-rich but nutrient-poor.                   

Who qualifies for food from the SF-Marin Food Bank?

Anyone who considers themselves in need of food qualifies for assistance from Food Bank programs and pantries.

The exception is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, a governmental program that is administered by the Food Bank. Participants in that program must verify residency in San Francisco or Marin and submit proof that their income is below a federally determined level.                                         

How can someone access a Food Bank pantry or program?

To find an available pantry or program, call 2-1-1. The Food Bank does not distribute food directly to clients from its facilities in San Francisco and Marin.     

Are most of the people you serve homeless?

No — children, seniors, unemployed and low-wage workers make up the majority of those struggling with hunger in our programs. Fourteen percent of those receiving food through the Food Bank network are homeless.

Is the need for food increasing?

Since 2008, the combined need in San Francisco and Marin has increased by more than 20 percent.

The Food Bank estimates increases in need based on the number of people living at or below 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

San Francisco – More than 220,000 people live at or below 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Line in San Francisco, or 28 percent of the population. Since the recession began, the need in San Francisco has increased by 14 percent.

Marin County – More than 51,000 people live at or below 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Line in Marin. Marin County, in particular, has shown dramatic increases in need. Since the recession began, the need in Marin has increased by 54 percent.

Low-income residents of San Francisco and Marin continue to struggle, despite the general economic improvement in our area. Weak wages and under-employment are creating “hidden” financial hardships. Unemployment rates do not tell the story of the under-employed and low-income households who are struggling to stabilize after such a profound economic shift.

How is the Food Bank funded?

On average, less than 15 percent of the Food Bank’s funding comes from government sources.

Individuals contribute nearly 60 percent of the organization’s funding, corporations donate 12 percent, foundations grant another 12 percent and the remainder comes from miscellaneous sources.

Where does the food that the Food Bank distributes come from?

The Food Bank’s food comes from a wide variety of sources – both donated and purchased. Sixty percent of the food the organization distributes is fresh produce (much of it straight from farms in the Central Valley), 15 percent is federal commodities from the USDA, and 10 percent of the food is protein and other staples that the Food Bank purchases. The remaining comes from food manufacturers, local supermarkets and community food drives.

To whom should I direct a media request?

Mark Seelig
(415) 282-1907, ext. 270