Missing Meals Report – Food Bank Expansion To Meet The Need

April 17, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO/MARIN (April 29, 2019) – The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is a vital lifeline for over 140,000 people every week – – but new data finds hunger is still a significant problem in our community. To close the hunger gap, the Food Bank is planning to expand our warehouses and services.

The need:  The newly released “Missing Meals” report shows the number of meals missed by low-income residents in San Francisco and Marin – those living at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) – stood at just over 35 million in 2017 (the latest year of available data).  That is down from a high of 62 million missing meals in 2013, and down from 43 million missing meals in 2016.

The drop is attributed to two main factors:  A slow but steady increase in the amount of food being provided by the Food Bank, and our nonprofit partners, to people living at or below 200% FPL:  48 million meals in 2015 compared to 49 million meals provided in 2017.  During the same period, census data shows the number of low-income people in San Francisco and Marin declined by about 26,000:  266,000 low-income individuals living in SF and Marin in 2015, compared to 240,000 in 2017.

“We’re encouraged by the growth in nonprofit meals provided, meaning the Food Bank and our network of partners are making a difference in the community,” says Food Bank Executive Director Paul Ash.  “But the fact of the matter is that 35 million missing meals is 35 million too many.”

The solution:  In our current facilities, the Food Bank has reached capacity.  To close the hunger gap, we are about to begin major expansion projects at both our San Francisco warehouse, and our recently purchased facility in San Rafael.  Expanding our facilities will enable the Food Bank to sustain and increase the amount of food we supply to 400+ partner organizations including GLIDE, Meals on Wheels, St. Anthony’s Foundation and San Rafael’s Ritter Center.

“Our total food distribution has plateaued at 48 million pounds annually, and even this level of output is a real struggle given our space constraints,” says Ash.  “In order to reduce the number of missing meals, we need to expand our infrastructure, which will directly impact our ability to expand our services throughout San Francisco and Marin. This will allow us to reach more neighbors who are struggling to put food on the table every day. We’ll also continue to advocate for improving government food-assistance programs – especially CalFresh – which are essential to closing the gap.”

The project in San Francisco will add an additional 28,000 square feet of warehouse space to the Food Bank’s building at 900 Pennsylvania Avenue, including two new loading docks.  Work is set to begin in 2020 and should wrap up in the summer of 2021.  Construction on the Marin facility at 2250 Kerner Boulevard in San Rafael will begin later this month and will renovate existing space to better host volunteers and create a more efficient work flow.  That project should be completed by September of 2019.

The overall goal is to be able to distribute 50% more food to our neighbors in need in San Francisco and Marin by the year 2040.

Food Bank Expansion – by the Numbers 

  1997 2018 2040 (projected growth)
Food Distributed Annually (Lbs.) 8.4M 48M 75 Million
People Served Weekly 34,000 140,000 200,000
Number of Volunteers Annually 3,000 40,000 50,000

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Mark Seelig
Public Relations Manager – San Francisco-Marin Food Bank
(office) 415-282-1907 ext. 270; (cell) 415-246-9146


About the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank

The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank’s mission is to end hunger in San Francisco and Marin, where one in four neighbors is at risk of hunger. We envision a community where everyone is able to obtain enough nutritious food in a dignified manner to support the health and well-being of themselves and their families. We address hunger head on: from our pantry network and home-delivered groceries, to our nutrition-education classes and food-stamp enrollment, we work in many ways to nourish and empower neighbors in need. Every week, 30,000 households count on us for food assistance. Nearly 60 percent of what we distribute is fresh fruits and vegetables. Learn more at www.sfmfoodbank.org.