It’s 5 am, and the roll-up door closes with a metal clunk. Secured inside the truck’s cargo hold are dozens of pallets of food, ready to be delivered to pantry sites throughout the city.
Food Bank driver and lead dispatcher Marc Zaminsky checks the log one last time and fires up the truck. He pulls out of the Food Bank’s driveway onto the quiet streets of San Francisco.
His first stop is Marshall Elementary School, located in the Mission District. He pulls up to the curb, then uses the truck’s lift to lower the pallets of food to street level. Marc then wheels the food inside.
Today’s delivery features cantaloupe, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, rice, raisins, boxes of cereal, oranges, potatoes, carrots, apples and eggs. Volunteers take care to display the fresh produce and other products so they are ready when families arrive to select their groceries for the week.
Next up is a Single Room Occupancy hotel a few blocks away. The pantry coordinator is waiting by the door. She walks to the curb to greet Marc. The hallway is too narrow for the pallet jack so the pantry volunteers pitch in to help carry the boxes inside. The pantry will open in 30 minutes, so the volunteers quickly unload the boxes and set up the pantry tables.
Afterward, three more stops are made, at a community center, a church, and a middle school, until finally, the cargo bay is empty. Marc checks off his log and heads back to the Food Bank.
Back at the Food Bank, Marc pulls into a loading bay, and the work begins again. The truck is loaded with pallets of food. The heaviest items, like potatoes and melons, layer the bottom of the pallet. Lighter, crushable items like cereal and eggs go on top.
Once the truck is loaded, Marc checks in at the dispatch room for any last minute changes. Then, he heads back into the city to bring more food to the people who need it.
“This is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. When you arrive at the pantries, people are smiling and happy to see you. There’s joy because you’re bringing them relief, you’re bringing them food,” says Marc Zaminsky.