Deana gives a big sigh as she takes a seat inside the multi-purpose room at her daughter’s elementary school in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood. It’s 5 o’clock, and the 28-year-old single mom is catching her breath before picking up six-year-old, Dionni, from the after-school program at Charles Drew College Prep Academy. It’s the first time in hours that Deana has had a chance to relax, after putting in a full day at her job at the online clothing store, Stitch Fix.
Even though Deana works 40 hours a week, she worries about paying all of her bills. “It’s hard to make it in this city — rent is high, commuting is expensive,” she says. “The end of the month is always a little touch and go. Fortunately, I haven’t gotten to the point where we are skipping meals, but it’s close sometimes.”
That’s where the Food Bank comes in. Every week, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank brings fresh produce, grains, and protein to the Charles Drew campus, so students and families can access food at school.
This afternoon, Deana picks up her daughter and also gathers a bag of free, fresh groceries at the school pantry. She enjoys the variety, and changes up her dinner menu from week to week, depending on what the Food Bank has to offer. “I like to chop up the vegetables and make stir fry,” she says. “Sometimes I’ll take the ground turkey and make tacos…we like to do Taco Tuesdays at our house.”
“When you give cucumbers, we take as many as we can because Dionni loves to make homemade pickles,” she adds.”We slice them up and put them in a jar with some special juice that we make.”
Tackling Summer Hunger
For Deana, summer time can be extra stressful. When school is out, her childcare costs increase and the school pantry is closed. She also has to cover the added cost of lunch and snacks that her daughter would ordinarily receive through the school’s meal program.
To help families like Deana’s, the Food Bank will operate four Kids Food Markets in San Francisco throughout the summer. These are special pantries, designed to serve students and families from schools that operate food pantries, which close when school is not in session. The Food Markets will be located at Malcom X Academy in the Bayview, Starr King Elementary School in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, Gordon J. Lau Elementary School in Chinatown, and John Muir Elementary School in the Western Addition.
If you would like to support this program and help us provide meals to children and families, consider a donation to the Food Bank today.