In early November, we hit a milestone of having delivered 1,000,000 pounds of food to pantries at local colleges serving students in need. We celebrated this landmark with a large cake, speeches and a band at San Francisco State University in partnership with Gator Groceries. Every week, the Food Bank serves nearly 1,000 hungry students at five college pantries through partnerships at San Francisco State University, College of Marin, UCSF Parnassus, Dominican University and City College of San Francisco.
Removing obstacles and lower the stigma
The pantries provide food to low-come students who struggle to balance the high costs of education with basic living needs, such as housing and transportation. Eligible students can get free fresh produce and other groceries every week. “By providing food directly on campus, the Food Bank makes it easy for students to pick up food and get back to the hard work of pursuing their education,” said Paul Ash, Executive Director of the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank.
Gator Groceries, a direct response to SFSU students facing food insecurity, provides a weekly pantry and emergency meals and snack twice weekly. “At Gator Groceries, we wanted to lower the stigma and find easy avenues for students to get help,” said Horace Montgomery, Interim Executive Director and founder of the Food Pantry program at SFSU.”
Stretching the food budget
David, a computer science major and a junior at SFSU, is genuinely appreciative of having access to fresh and nutritious food. David works hard at school and in his college community, where he’s a student government board director representing the School of Science and Engineering at SFSU. “A friend told me about the pantry when I was a freshman.”
David lives off-campus, and after paying rent each month, he doesn’t have much money left for food. The pantry helps stretch his food budget. “I love to cook, especially with the fresh vegetables that the pantry provides. My favorites are spaghetti squash and potatoes because they’re both easy to cook and make a warm filling meal.” David wants other students to know how helpful the pantry has been, that is one of the best places on campus and to not be embarrassed if they need help. “The Bay Area has a high cost of living, and many of us need help to live here, there’s no shame in that.” said David.