New Pantries Open to Serve Even More Neighborhoods

February 5, 2020

In the last couple of months, we’ve opened two pantries expanding our San Francisco Neighborhood Grocery Network.

Finding a new pantry partner is not always an easy task. Ask Ashley Wong, one of our Pantry coordinators, “A potential pantry partner needs to have a lead volunteer coordinator and a consistent volunteer team that can dedicate hours of their schedule every week to support the pantry–and that’s a lot to ask.” It’s not only a time investment and physical commitment (those bags of potatoes are heavy!), but also an emotional one because creating a supportive pantry with excellent welcoming service, although rewarding, can also be heartbreaking. Ashley added, “We also need a pantry that is inclusive to people of all abilities. To meet that critical need, we require locations that have sizable storage space and, importantly, easy, safe access for all the pantry participants and volunteers.”

The Father’s House Pantry

We typically find pantry partners through outreach to community organizations, some of which are introduced to us by one of our existing partners. That’s how Ashley connected with one of our latest partner, The Father’s House in the Outer Sunset/Lake Merced area. The organization’s team was looking for ways to further serve their community and was reaching out to its partners. We connected and three months later, last December, they opened the doors to a new pantry.

“This pantry has steadily grown due to the continuing outreach in the community and the Father’s House team’s commitment to providing great customer service to everyone who comes by. Their endless dedication and energy continue to awe me. I look forward to the many years of partnership ahead of us,” said Ashley.

The Father’s House pantry is open Thursdays from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm and is located at 269 Herbst Road at the Pomeroy Recreation & Rehabilitation Center. All San Francisco residents in need of food assistance are welcome to enroll in this pantry. We ask only that they bring a photo ID with a current residential address, or photo ID and a piece of mail with a current residential address.

Serving the Richmond Neighborhood

In early January, we also opened a pantry in San Francisco’s Richmond neighborhood. With more than 19,500 Richmond District residents at high risk of food insecurity—nearly 25% of the entire population of the neighborhood—we’re trying hard to close this hunger gap by looking for potential pantry partners. This time a long-time ally stepped up and is now in charge of three pantries in the neighborhood. “With the help of our dedicated community partners, Richmond Neighborhood Center, and our host, George Peabody Elementary School, we’re excited that we can expand our services in the Richmond neighborhood,” said Gary Lau, Program coordinator.

 

 

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.

PURPLE HEART VETERAN MANAGES DIABETES WITH HEALTHY 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.

YOU CAN HELP THE FOOD BANK SERVE PEOPLE WHO ARE HOMELESS

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.

 

David’s Story | Security Alert

January 22, 2018

As a security guard in San Francisco, David’s job is to protect life and property.  It’s somewhat ironic that at home, he and his family face another serious threat: hunger.

“My salary is decent,” said the 62-year-old father of three. “But with kids and living in this city, where it’s so expensive, I’m finding more and more that it’s simply not enough.”

High Cost of Living

David’s story is one told all too often in this city.  A recent report from the California Budget and Policy Center finds that San Francisco tops the list of most expensive counties in California when trying to support a family.  For example, a family of four, with two working parents, needs to earn about $111,000 a year to simply cover the basics of rent, food, healthcare, transportation, child care and taxes. Marin County ranks second at $110,000 a year.  Both figures far outweigh what David is taking home in his paycheck.

“My wife is unable to work right now, so it’s up to me to support her and the kids,” he says.  Two of those kids are high school boys. The third is David’s 13-year-old 8th grade daughter, Shreena, who attends James Denman Middle School in the city’s Balboa Park neighborhood. It’s here where he and his family find a little bit of relief. For the past several months, they have been accessing the Health Children’s pantry on campus, picking up a bag filled with fresh produce, protein, and staple grains every week.

David is most impressed with all the fresh produce they are able to get at the pantry. “The kids love all the fruit – the apples, pears, and oranges. I like the fresh vegetables,” he says excitedly. “The best part is that some of the food lasts for several days. Some of the items, like the chicken, I’m able to freeze when I get home and cook it a couple of days later.

A Better Community

In the end, David figures the Food Bank is saving him and his family a couple hundred dollars a month.  With teenagers who are constantly growing out of clothes and shoes, that money seems to disappear quite regularly. Still, it’s a comfort for him knowing that every Thursday afternoon he’ll be able to get a grocery bag filled with healthy food if he needs it.

“Some people say that it’s a waste of time to help the people of this city who can’t afford to feed themselves. I say that’s not right,” David says. “We are all making this community better in our own way, and it’s important to protect that.”