Food Bank Helps Furloughed Workers, Coast Guard Families

January 21, 2019

As the government shutdown continues, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is stepping up to assist furloughed workers, including U.S. Coast Guard members and their families who have gone weeks without a paycheck. The Food Bank operated a pop-up pantry on Saturday morning at Hamilton Field in Novato and provided free, fresh groceries to about 150 Coast Guard families.

Meghan and family

“The food being available here – such great food! – is just amazing. We are overwhelmed with thankfulness,” said Meghan, who came to the pop-up pantry with her husband, who serves in the Coast Guard, and their two young children. “With our kids being so young, I work just a few hours a week, so we rely on my husband’s income to cover most of our bills. Not getting his paycheck last week has already caused us a little bit of hurt. And the prospect of not getting the next paycheck is really scary. Because we’re saving some money on food, we’re able to cover our bills this month. Right now we are just hanging on to every dime, because we’re not sure how long this shutdown is going to last.”

Read thank you letters we received from the U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Peter Gautier and the Coast Guard North Bay Spouses Club.

Click here to view photos from Saturday’s pop-up pantry.

Fresh Food for Families

The Food Bank delivered seven pallets of fresh food on Saturday morning- including whole chickens, fruits & veggies, and pasta and sauce – to help the Coast Guard families get through these lean times. In addition, our CalFresh (food stamps) enrollment team was on hand to help eligible families sign up for benefits. Because they have missed paychecks, many Coast Guard members could now meet income requirements for CalFresh.

The Coast Guard families in Novato held their own community food drive last weekend and collected thousands of pounds of nonperishable items, diapers, and cleaning supplies. The fresh groceries from the Food Bank’s pantry supplemented the distribution of these items.

Get Help

Are you a furloughed government employee who needs food assistance because of the government shutdown? We can help! Call 2-1-1 or visit to get connected with food assistance in San Francisco and Marin.

Give Help

With your support, we can continue to help furloughed workers and their families. Make a donation now.

In the News


San Jose Mercury News/East Bay Times – Food banks fill in for paychecks as shutdown drags on

Newsweek Magazine – Government Shutdown: Unpaid Federal Workers Are Now Turning to Food Banks To Feed Families

San Francisco Chronicle – Editorial: Crippled Government is the Threat Within

KQED – Bay Area Food Banks prepare to help feed local furloughed federal workers

Marin Independent Journal – Coast Guard Families Tread Water

SF-Eater – Food Bank Hosts Massive Mobile Pantry for Unpaid Coast Guard Workers

Food for Mendocino and Lake County Fire Evacuees

August 1, 2018

When disaster strikes, you can always count on the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank to lend a hand. In the case of the Mendocino/Lake County Complex Fires, it’s not just a hand we’re lending – it’s multiple pallets of emergency food and water for fire evacuees.

Our Food Resources team has been monitoring the situation, and when contacted by our friends at Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB), we leaped into action – assembling ten pallets of emergency water, easy-open food pouches, and ready-to-eat food. This week, emergency food supplies from our Food Bank warehouse will help REFB restock its rapidly-depleting emergency food inventories.

“We are once again saddened by the news of these fires, but we are glad to be a part of the Food Bank regional network so that we can help out, even from afar,” said Barbara Abbott, Director of Food Sourcing and Allocation at San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. “Our hearts and thoughts are with our Northern California neighbors whose homes and lives have been damaged by the fires.”

Because of the generous support of our donors, our Food Bank collaborates year round with other Food Banks around the region – and across the country – to prepare for and respond to disasters.


  • Get updates and stay connected with news about how San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is supporting the wildfire recovery efforts by following us on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Make an emergency plan with your loved ones so you know what to do when disaster strikes. Visit or for information and useful guides to help you get prepared.

NOTE: At this time, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is not accepting donations of food, water, or other supplies for the fire relief effort.

Food Bank Response | North Bay Fires

October 11, 2017

Updated Sunday, October 15

As massive wildfires continue to decimate the North Bay, causing thousands of people to flee their homes, Bay Area Food Banks are responding. We have been working together all week to provide emergency food assistance to displaced neighbors. Our hearts and thoughts are with our North Bay neighbors who are seeking support.

Need food? Marin food pantries welcome fire evacuees: If you or someone you know in Marin has been impacted by the wildfires (and is not already receiving meals from an evacuation center), food is available from the Food Bank’s pantry network. Click here to use our Food Locator tool to find weekly food pantries that are open in Marin. To help individuals and families recover, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is making emergency food assistance available to evacuation centers and encouraging new participants to enroll at our weekly pantries.

Want to help? Monetary donations are the most effective way to assist right now.  

> Donate here to support Redwood Empire Food Bank,which is in the middle of the disaster zone, serving Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties. 

NOTE: At this time, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is not accepting donations of food, water, or other supplies. Get updates and stay connected with news about how San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is supporting the wildfire recovery efforts by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

How San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is supporting relief efforts

In times of emergency, Food Banks play a key role as “second responders,” providing food and water in the immediate aftermath of disaster, as well as longer-term food assistance as neighbors rebuild their lives.

At the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, our Food Resources and Operations teams sprang into action early last week, assembling 12 pallets of shelf-stable snack items, drinks, and peanut butter. These ready-to-eat foods are being delivered to shelters that are housing people displaced by the fires.

On Tuesday, we moved those pallets of food to our Marin warehouse, which is much closer to the fire lines, and much closer to the people who need it. Within hours of arriving in Marin, two pallets were delivered to an evacuee shelter in San Geronimo Valley in West Marin County, helping 30 people who were forced from their homes the day before. Other shelters are opening daily, and our emergency-relief food is close by, ready to be shipped out as soon as it’s needed.

This weekend (October 14-15), we are providing food for breakfast for 400 evacuees at the Marin Civic Center evacuation shelter. The 11 pallets of food delivered today include cereal, peanut butter, jelly, beverages, apples, and pears.

Our team has also delivered a truckload of food and water to the Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB), which is in the middle of the disaster zone, serving Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties. We have also sent four of our skilled forklift operators to help out at the REFB warehouse this weekend. Four members of our warehouse team – Rich, Steve, Leonardo and Carl – will travel to Sonoma County to provide assistance.

In the news, San Francisco-Marin Food Bank was featured on KTSF-Channel 36 TV (Chinese language). Click here to view the 3-minute segment; we are mentioned at the 1:43 mark.


Responding to Hurricane Harvey

September 6, 2017

Food Bankers know that our primary task – today and every day – is to help hungry people get enough to eat.  Most of the time, we focus on neighbors close by – people living in our city, county or region. But during times of disaster – like Hurricane Harvey – making nutritious food available to all who need it crosses county lines and even state lines.

As Hurricane Harvey pounded southeast Texas, we at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank were eager to help. With flood waters receding, thousands of people who lost their homes and most of their belongings are now in need of food.

The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is responding by sending both food and staff to Texas. As a member of Feeding America, San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is part of a national network that provides assistance to food banks impacted by natural disasters.

Food Bank Staff Head to Houston

Associate Director of Operations Geno Geerlof departed yesterday, and Director of Food Sourcing and Allocation Barbara Abbott will head to Texas on Sunday. They will assist the Houston Food Bank with the massive food sourcing and distribution efforts now underway, helping provide food and water to thousands of people impacted by the storm and its aftermath.

The response from the community has been overwhelming – the Houston Food Bank is receiving as many as 120 truckloads of food every day.  They are operating 24/7 to receive donations and get them out into the community as quickly as possible.

Barbara is excited and ready for the challenge. “I imagine I’ll be looking at very long hours, and no days off while I’m in Houston, but I’m ready to help in any way I can,” she said.

40,000 lbs. of Food and Water 

In addition to sending personnel, San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is also gathering food and water for relief efforts. We have teamed up with two other Bay Area food banks (Alameda County Community Food Bank and Second Harvest Food Bank in Santa Clara) to provide foods requested by the Houston Food Bank.  This week, we will ship more than 40,000 lbs. of peanut butter, granola bars, bottled water, crackers, canned meats and veggies, instant oatmeal, and other ready-to-eat foods.

Want to help Hurricane Harvey survivors and food banks in Texas?  At this point in the disaster, monetary donations are the most effective way to provide support. Make a donation now at

Check out recent media coverage about our efforts to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey: