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Is the Recession Over? Not for San Francisco's Hungry

December 29, 2009
Attention: This press release was published in December 2009.
Our program is growing and our numbers are updated often.
For current facts and figures, see our Media Kit.
San Francisco Food Bank’s December food distributions up 40 percent versus last year
San Francisco, CA (December 29, 2009) – It’s been a record-breaking year for the San Francisco Food Bank, with the amount of food distributed to the city’s hungry topping previous numbers every month. But those figures were even more sobering during the holidays.
The Food Bank handed out groceries to more than 30,000 households for Thanksgiving – up 30 percent versus last year. “We were determined that everyone in need should be able to have the makings for a wholesome, home-cooked holiday meal,” said Paul Ash, San Francisco Food Bank Executive Director. “This was followed by an even greater need in the month of December.”
During the first two weeks of December, the San Francisco Food Bank’s distributions rose 40 percent versus the same time period in 2008. “I’m not sure when this is going to stop,” Ash said. Over the year, he noted, the San Francisco Food Bank has expanded its grocery pantry network to more than 200 locations – including the opening of eight pantries in Marin County. In the first half of December alone, the Food Bank distributed nearly 2 million pounds of food.
The good news is food donations are up. However, they’re not rising high enough to meet the demand. For the first two weeks of December, donated food was up just 14 percent versus 2008. The quantity of items the Food Bank was forced to purchase which typically includes staples like rice, beans and pasta was up 17 percent.
What can San Franciscans do to help their hungry neighbors in the months to come? “We have food donation barrels located throughout the city,” Ash said. “The most-needed items are non-perishable proteins, like canned tuna or peanut butter.” He added that cash donations are welcome, too. “For every $1 donated, we can distribute $9 worth of food,” Ash explained, thanks to the Food Bank’s efficient operation, which relies on 21,000 volunteers to pack, sort and hand out food to the city’s 150,000 hungry.

About the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks (updated July 18, 2012)

Hunger is a serious problem in our community, with one in five children and adults at risk of hunger in San Francisco and Marin. Every day, the Food Bank sources, collects, sorts, inspects and repackages thousands of pounds of food, then distributes it to soup kitchens, neighborhood pantries, school programs and seniors in need.
The Food Bank serves more than 225,000 people each year throughout San Francisco and Marin counties, and will distribute more than 45 million pounds of food to the community this year alone – enough for at least 100,000 meals every day. More than half of what is distributed is fresh fruits and vegetables. For more information, visit