San Francisco-Marin Food Bank Asks for Community Donations
Inflation Drives Unsustainable Expenses for The Food Bank
San Francisco, CA (December 21, 2022) – The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is facing pressure from all sides. As more people turn to the Food Bank for support, inflation pushes food costs even higher. The Food Bank needs the community’s support to continue meeting this increased need. Through the end of December, the Food Bank has secured matching gifts from its dedicated partners – meaning donations during this time will go twice as far. December 31st is the deadline for individuals to make their last tax-deductible gift of the year.
The Food Bank currently serves 56,000 households a week, compared to 32,000 pre-pandemic. According to a recent survey of nearly 6,000 Food Bank participants, 72% have not recovered financially from COVID-19’s impact on their finances. Inflation is forcing tough choices as families struggle to balance the increasingly high cost of living, surging gas bills, and continually rising food prices. According to the most recent Consumer Price Index Report, food prices are up 10 percent compared to last year in the San Francisco metro area.
“We’re forced to make choices, you know? I literally don’t go grocery shopping. I can’t afford to. I’m stuck between the choice of paying my housing and utility costs or purchasing food. So, I literally gave up on purchasing food,” said Sharon, a Food Bank participant in San Francisco.
Food Costs Are Rising
The Food Bank isn’t immune to these challenges. It faces unsustainable budget increases, sustained global supply chain issues, and a drastic decline in government support.
This year we are receiving 25 percent less food from the USDA compared to last year. As a result of that, fewer industry food donations, and rising prices the Food Bank spent 35% more on its holiday menu this year – that’s $480,000 more than last year.
- Chicken cost more than twice as much;
- eggs are up 88%;
- the cost of produce has doubled;
- rice is up 63%.
It’s not just food prices that are rising. In November, fuel costs were 60 percent higher than last fiscal year.
Donations Are Needed
“Between inflation and the lingering financial impacts of COVID-19, low- and modest-income families are hurting,” said Tanis Crosby, executive director, San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. “Just as more people turn to us, we are struggling to keep up with rising costs. We need the community’s support now more than ever. Especially as we need to raise more than half our annual budget by December 31st.”
The Food Bank can turn every $1 donation into two meals – four meals with the current matching gifts – making monetary donations significantly more impactful than providing food. With these contributions, the Food Bank purchases high quality meat, eggs, produce, and more.
The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank receives a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. 95 percent of the Food Bank’s expenses goes directly to its programs.
Other Ways to Give
Those who do not have the means to donate, or who would like to give in other ways, should consider volunteering in January and February. Many people think about volunteering around the holidays and our November and December shifts often fill quickly. But for those facing hunger, keeping their pantries full is a year-round challenge. Every year the Food Bank sees a steep decline in volunteers after the New Year, so it is asking the community to make volunteering their New Year’s resolution. January and February shifts are already available for sign up: https://volunteering.sfmfoodbank.org/need/2023/01.
ABOUT THE FOOD BANK
The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank’s mission is to end hunger in San Francisco and Marin, where even before the pandemic, one in five neighbors was at risk of hunger. We envision a community where everyone has access to nutritious food of their choosing and is uplifted by a network of support. Together with community partners, we work to address hunger head-on through neighborhood food pantries, CalFresh enrollment, home-delivered groceries, and policy and advocacy efforts. We work with our community to create lasting solutions to address both the hunger we see today and the root causes that perpetuate food insecurity in our society. Every week, 56,000 households count on us for food assistance. 60% of what we distribute is fresh fruits and vegetables. Visit sfmfoodbank.org to learn more.