San Francisco Warehouse Expansion
We committed to expanding our facilities prior to COVID-19 and launched the capital campaign in 2017. Pre-pandemic, the Food Bank was already exceeding warehouse capacity by 60%, which required leasing temporary warehouses. The unprecedented surge in food insecurity caused by the pandemic has reinforced our critical need for more space. Our new facilities will allow us to serve many more of our neighbors in need and to be more adaptable to changing community demand in the future. We will not have excess space after the pandemic passes.
Yes, we will continue to offer volunteer opportunities that are modified appropriately for safety during the pandemic. Please visit our Volunteer page for more information.
We plan to break ground on the San Francisco facility in spring 2021 and hope to complete construction by late 2022. Campaign fundraising will continue throughout this period.
We are grateful for gifts of any amount to the campaign. Every dollar will bring us closer to our goal of building a future without hunger, and we welcome your partnership at any level.
We plan to enlarge our warehouse by approximately 32,000 square feet by eliminating our north parking lot and expanding our warehouse into that space. We will be moving the displaced parking to an ancillary parking lot close by.
We plan to add two loading docks on the north end of the building, which will enable us to use the south docks primarily for outbound food and focus inbound food on the new north docks. By maximizing the efficiency with which food flows through the warehouse, we will increase capacity and be able to serve more of those in need – moving more food, more quickly into our community.
Before COVID-19, the Food Bank was already a vital lifeline for over 140,000 people every week. Since the crisis, food insecurity has grown as many of our neighbors, friends, family members, and essential workers have lost their jobs, hours, and wages. We have risen to the challenge to feed those in need.
However, the expansion of our San Francisco facility was needed long before the pandemic. As the cost of living here kept going up, more and more people in San Francisco and Marin Counties found themselves unable to afford food. Our warehouse was bursting at the seams, and we were forced to turn away food donations. Given the crisis, we have resorted to using makeshift tents. To meet the growing need in the coming decades and provide food for all, the Food Bank must expand its home base.
For the last decade, we have been carefully planning our organization’s expansion. Our goal is to increase capacity up to 75 million lbs. by 2040. Today we provide food for over 140,000 people who need it every week. With the expansion of our warehouse in San Francisco and upgrades to our new facility in Marin, we anticipate providing food to more than 200,000 people per week.
We hope to break ground late 2020 and to complete construction late 2021.
We do not distribute food directly to participants from our warehouse; participants obtain food through our pantry network and agency partners at partner sites. However, at our warehouse, we will be able to accommodate more volunteers and additional inbound and outbound deliveries.
Today, we do both receiving and shipping out of the south side of our building. Our expansion plans will move receiving to the northwest side of the building. The new receiving docks will be off the street, behind the expanded portion of our new building.
Currently, our San Francisco warehouse receives approximately 4-6 truckloads of food per day. Our staff and volunteers then repackage food for distribution to approximately 50-60 locations daily, resulting in about 10-12 outbound trips each day.
With the expansion, inbound trucks will increase over time to 6-9 trucks daily. The number of outbound trips will increase over time to 15-18 per day.
Once the expansion is completed, Food Bank receiving will be moved to the northwest corner of our facility. This will reduce the amount of truck activity on the south side, which is the residential side of our facility.
The profile of the expansion is the same height as the existing building and respects the 40-foot height zoning. The expansion will be done on the northside, next to the existing commercial property.
Today, we operate nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week to accomplish our mission. Our building generally opens each day at 2 a.m. and shuts down around midnight. We anticipate operating the same hours, although the timing of some functions may shift.
Deliveries are made to the Food Bank between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. We schedule all of our receipts to prevent multiple deliveries hitting the docks at the same time. The unload time varies dependent on the load, but it is generally no longer than one hour.
The Food Bank’s board of directors approved the conceptual expansion at the end of 2018. In 2019, we started doing outreach to our immediate neighbors and key stakeholders and filed our initial application with the Planning Department. If all goes well, we hope to be able to secure city approvals and begin construction in late 2020 and be completed late 2021.
The Food Bank has submitted applications to the City and County of San Francisco. We are responding to questions that the Planning Department had regarding our proposal.
We will be fully compliant with the San Francisco Green Building code, including reducing energy and water, diverting waste from landfill, encouraging alternative modes of transportation, and supporting the health and comfort of building occupants. We also anticipate expanding our current solar field to support the expanded building.
Notably, a key part of our operating model is to prevent millions of pounds of waste from going into landfill by diverting usable food from the waste stream and redirecting it to our neighbors in need. Our expansion will allow us to further those capabilities.
If you are interested in making a significant financial contribution to support our expansion, please contact Capital Campaign Director Iris Fluellen, firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-282-1900, x280.
Visit www.sfmfoodbank.org/sf-warehouse-expansion, where you can subscribe for email updates and add your name as a project supporter.
You can also send an email to us at email@example.com. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with additional questions!
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