Healthy Food For People With No Place To Call Home

August 22, 2018

When you don’t have a stable roof over your head, getting enough nutritious food to stay healthy and take on life’s challenges can be impossible. As the Bay Area’s housing crisis has grown, so has our community’s homeless population. That’s why the Food Bank is committed to improving access to meet the growing need.

More than 8,600 people do not have a place to call home in San Francisco and Marin on any given night. The Food Bank reaches people who are struggling with homelessness in a number of ways, including our regular pantry distributions and community partners — many of which serve hot meals to people who are homeless.

We also partner with agencies such as CityTeam in San Francisco and the Ritter Center in Marin to distribute healthy food that does not need to be prepared in a kitchen. The special limited-cooking menu includes produce like oranges, carrots, lettuce, and tomatoes; peanut butter and tuna; and a variety of snacks. Participants who have access to microwaves in shelters and single room occupancies (SROs) also receive food like potatoes and soup.

Several times a year, the Food Bank also participates in Project Homeless Connect where numerous agencies come together to provide a full spectrum of services. They include things like medical and dental care, clothes, foot washing, and of course, food.


Maxwell is a Marine Corps veteran with a purple heart. He suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq, and he became homeless when he returned to the U.S. He is currently moving from hotel to hotel, hoping he will soon have permanent housing.

Maxwell recently hooked up with the limited-cooking menu at the CityTeam pantry and says the food helps him manage his diabetes. “I feel good when I have food,” says Maxwell. “The week before last, I didn’t have it. I was in bed for three days feeling terrible. The food pantry is saving me.”

Once his housing is stabilized, Maxwell plans to finish his psychology degree at UCSF with support from veterans groups.


As the homeless population grows, the Food Bank must continue to innovate and expand our reach to make sure those who struggle to find shelter have enough to eat. We’ve convened an internal working group to improve our understanding of the problem and ways we can rally as a community to help our neighbors in need. If you’re able, please make a gift today to help serve our hungry neighbors, including people facing homelessness.