Due to Budget Cuts, The Food Bank Will Scale
Down Pandemic-era Services Over the Next Two Years
San Francisco, CA (October 17, 2023) – The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is announcing that over the next two years it will reduce its pandemic-era services due to the end of federal, state and local funding for emergency pandemic services. The Food Bank will close all emergency Pop-Up Pantries located across San Francisco and Marin by June 30, 2025 and is currently reducing its Home Delivered Groceries enrollment. It will transition participants back to the pre-pandemic model of food distribution through a network of neighborhood pantries.
“Pop-Up Pantries are not closing immediately,” said Executive Director Tanis Crosby. “We are committed to serving our community to the best of our ability. Our goal is for this to be a thoughtful and planned transition, where we can eventually serve as many participants as possible directly through our pantry network as we did prior to the pandemic.”
To minimize the impact on participants, during the two-year period the Food Bank will continue to work with its community partners to expand existing food pantries and reopen those that closed due to COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, 33% of the food pantries in the Food Bank’s network closed. The organization is focused on working with partners to rebuild that network capacity. However, due to funding cuts there will be longer waitlists at pantries and some in need will no longer have access to Food Bank services. By the end of June 2025, the Food Bank projects it will serve approximately 40,000 households per week – about 20 percent more than pre-pandemic.
The Food Bank grew its staff to meet the emergency response demands of the pandemic. The reduction of pandemic-era services will also, unfortunately, require the Food Bank to reduce its workforce over the next two years. By the end of June 2025, the organization anticipates its staffing will reduce from 253 to below 200 employees through attrition, early retirements, and layoffs. No staff are losing their jobs immediately.
The Food Bank is announcing the planned changes in pre-pandemic services early to allow for a thoughtful transition over the next two years for participants and staff. Planned benefits for staff who will be impacted include strong severance and career support packages to enable future employment opportunities. The Food Bank highly values its staff, many of whom served courageously on the frontlines throughout the pandemic.
“The impact of the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank in providing groceries to tens of thousands of individuals and families in need during the pandemic was simply remarkable,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “In the post-pandemic funding landscape, the unfortunate reality facing local governments is federal support for anti-hunger programs is dwindling. We must develop new approaches to address food insecurity. The Food Bank is working collaboratively on innovative and coordinated food access initiatives to end hunger in our city, and I look forward to working together in strong partnership.”
“Given the incredible need for food that still exists in our communities, it is simply no longer enough to manage hunger,” said Crosby. “We look forward to working with the City of San Francisco, our partners and supporters to accelerate equitable solutions to address the root causes of hunger.”