Leaving a legacy to help end hunger

November 3, 2017

Mr. David and Rev. Dr. Susanna Singer have been Bay Area residents for 35 years, and advocates for its most vulnerable residents for that same tenure. Both born and raised in London, Susanna recalls that, while her family led a modest life, they always did for others and taught their children to have the same mindset.

“It was an absolute given that we should give back; it’s kind of bred in the bone,” says Susanna. “Our mother in some way was always organized in service outside of the home. It was just normal for her to do that; she has always done it. It was a value we grew up with.”

When they moved to the Bay Area in 1981, David started work in Silicon Valley and Susanna began her training to become a priest.

It was in 2001, around the time of the first recession, that Susanna and David began giving to the Food Bank. Susanna recalls she and David reading an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on food insecurity, and they knew they wanted to join the Food Bank in becoming part of the solution. Their first visit to the pantry and warehouse, where they witnessed the amount of fresh produce distributed, the quality of the food and the efficiency of the regional operation, served to impress them.

“That visit sealed the deal in terms of making it a regular part of our local giving,” says Susanna.

In addition to their annual giving, Susanna and David recently incorporated charitable provisions to the Food Bank into their estate planning, helping to ensure the future of the organization. They have become members of the Food For Life Circle.

“We thought, the Food Bank isn’t going anywhere; there is longevity to it. And the need is going to be there too,” explains Susanna. “It’s really very simple. The Food Bank is the best way we’ve seen to get food to people who need it.”

Meet Vivienne Flesher and Ward Shumaker | Members of the Breadwinners Circle

June 29, 2017

Artists Vivienne Flesher and Ward Shumaker have achieved international acclaim, exhibiting their art around the world. Through it all, they remain rooted in our community.

Thirty years ago, Ward purchased a charming, century-old house two blocks from the Food Bank. “I remember when the warehouse was built,” he said. “We’ve enjoyed watching the neighborhood change, and the addition of the warehouse made us doubly happy.”

Ward and Vivienne made their first gift to the Food Bank in 1995 and have supported our work over many years. Their generosity stems from a strong belief that everyone should have food, clothing, and a roof over their heads. For Ward, tithing was part of his Nebraska upbringing. Vivienne weaves philanthropy into daily life — when going out, she often brings warm clothing to give to homeless neighbors.

Wishing to get more involved, Vivienne recently offered pro-bono photography to the Food Bank. We jumped at the opportunity. She spent a morning at San Francisco State University, where we help low-income students enroll in CalFresh (formerly food stamps). We also provide free groceries on campus every week.

Rather than hide behind her camera, Vivienne talked with students, listened to their stories, and captured their essence with photographs — some are on this page.

“The kids were so warm and willing to share,” she said. “It broke my heart to see them struggling, and it was so moving to be able to help. It was an honor to photograph them.”

We are grateful for Breadwinners like Vivienne and Ward, who feel a personal responsibility to ensure everyone in our community has enough to eat.

Click here to find out how you can get involved!