Elisabeth’s Story | Delivering Food to Homebound Seniors

April 30, 2020

Food Bank delivers food to 11K seniors 

Elisabeth Fall is a freelance photographer who regularly shoots for the Food Bank. Since the pandemic, she’s lost most of her business. But that hasn’t deterred her from helping others. 

Twice a week, she loads up her car with 15 bags of groceries and delivers them to seniors as part of our brand-new Pantry at Home program. It’s a temporary service making sure that the Food Bank’s participants who are over 65 years old get food during this crisis. 

“It’s sobering to think how long this crisis will go on,” said Elisabeth. “But I’m spending my new free time doing something I’ve wanted to do for years: volunteer for the Food Bank.” 

“One thing that I love about delivering groceries is that I feel like I have a purpose, and it deflects energy away from my own underemployment to think about the people around me. It’s such a gift.” 

A fleet of volunteers and partners 

With the help of volunteers and partners – including, OnFleet, Amazon, Cruise, Uber Eats, and DoorDash – we’ve been able to completely shift our distribution model almost overnight. Now our most vulnerable participants can still receive groceries while they are protecting their health by sheltering in place.  

Each and every day a tireless group of volunteers and county disaster service workers pack 1,200-1,500 bags of groceries under a giant tent in our warehouse parking lot. The tent has become an extension of our warehouse – giving volunteers the space they need to social distance, while still packing up fruits and vegetables, protein, grain and other nonperishables.  

As the bags are being packed, drives from our fleet of volunteers and partners arrive continuously throughout the day. They back up to our curb on Pennsylvania Ave., check in with a curbside volunteer or staffer and start loading up their cars with 15-20 bags or boxes packed and ready for delivery throughout San Francisco. 


A thank you smile  

When Elisabeth makes her rounds throughout the city, she is often joined by her daughter. Together, they knock on doors, put the groceries down, and stand back six feet. 

“We are always met with smiles when folks open their doors, and they are always so appreciative – which is a bonus. It’s nice to have contact with people, even for a minute from six feet away with masks on,” said Elisabeth. 

“When the chips are down – and these are tough times for so many – volunteering is eight hours of my week helping people connect to food, and food is love. So, it’s a good feeling.” 

We all hope that the crisis will pass soon, and that active seniors can go back to visiting their regular neighborhood pantries. But until then, the Food Bank’s temporary Pantry at Home program will be here for our seniors 

If you are interested in volunteering, sign up here.