SF food bank short 2,200 volunteers

|
(13)
Volunteers sort food at the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks' warehouse, by Potrero Hill.
Photo by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Well, that was fast.

As it does every year, the cheery holiday season brought thousands of volunteers to the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks. Hungry folks were fed (despite some controversy), bellies were filled, hearts were warmed.

So much for that.

The holidays are over, the Christmas songs no longer play in our stores, and the barrage of volunteers is now at a standstill. The food bank is now short 2,200 volunteers, the part time work equivalent of about 60 full time employees, a food bank spokesperson said.

foodstats“Our volunteers are crucial to our mission and on average help us in sorting, bagging, gleaning, and boxing food. They on average help to sort over 1 million pounds (of food) per month,” Volunteer Services Manager Sean Rosas told us. “Heading into January, the Food Bank isn’t as top of mind for people as it was during November and December. We have lots of empty shifts on our calendar.”

Yes, this happens every year, but a new report from the city shows San Franciscans are at greater risk of food insecurity than ever.

One of the most expensive and wealthy cities in the nation still grapples with a hunger problem, highlighted in a recent report from the city’s Food Security Task Force. One in four San Franciscans are “food insecure,” meaning they’re starving or eating dangerously unhealthily due to poverty. 

The food bank fights this every day. It doesn’t need volunteers in its pantries, but for processing food in a giant warehouse nestled on Pennsylvania Avenue, behind Potrero Hill. There, volunteers package dried goods and sort produce.

That food then is shipped to over 200 food pantries in San Francisco and Marin, serving most all of San Francisco’s neighborhoods. From Glide Memorial Church in the Tenderloin to the Women’s Building in the Mission, more than 200,000 hungry San Franciscans are fed by the organization annually. 

Frighteningly, without volunteers, some of their fresh food will go to waste. 

“Currently, we distribute over 60 percent of our produce to nonprofit partners,” Rosas said. “A drop in volunteers would significantly impact our gleaning and distribution of fresh produce like oranges.  Ultimately this would lead to more food waste and composting costs for our organization.” 

For more information on how you can help, visit http://www.sfmfoodbank.org/

Comments

You need to explain what you mean by that.

Do you mean 200,000 meals are served each year? Sounds reasonable but that could be the same 200 people eating three times a day for a year.

Or do you mean that 200,000 people have at least one meal a year from this service? That's almost one in four city residents, but then i have heard that working people eat there too.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 08, 2014 @ 3:48 pm

How can you possibly get "200,000 meals" from "200,000 San Franciscans"? Seriously? Re-read your comment title and you would have had your answer.

This is does gloss over the fact that if it's Marin as well, it should be "200,000 Bay Area residents" or something similar.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 08, 2014 @ 9:21 pm

How can you possibly get "200,000 meals are fed to San Franciscans" from "200,000 San Franciscans are fed annually"? Seriously? Re-read your comment title and you would have had your answer.

This is does gloss over the fact that if it's Marin as well, it should be "200,000 Bay Area residents" or something similar.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 08, 2014 @ 9:23 pm

The second. But remember, it's Marin as well.

Posted by Joe Fitzgerald on Jan. 08, 2014 @ 4:10 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 08, 2014 @ 4:22 pm
Posted by Joe Fitzgerald on Jan. 08, 2014 @ 9:43 pm

Whenever you put something through a private entity, you have potential for abuse, because private systems are usually less efficient at doing anything other than making a buck.

That goes double for Cecil Williams' fishy church, which is probably nothing more than a money laundering operation for a well-connected crony of Willie Brown. I've never been big on the term "non-profit mafia," which is thrown around here a lot, but in this case it may actually apply. Glide is more a business than a church.

But just this whole idea that you have to go and get your dose of god propaganda if you want to eat, is something I find a bit distasteful. I prefer to give to homeless people on the traffic medians. That way I can give the middle finger to a city law that criminalizes panhandling while helping the homeless at the same time. And not just on Christmas either.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 8:50 am

government that messes up, and that if you want something done, you need to give it to a private entity.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 9:19 am

San Francisco? don't think so. America? Maybe, but they're wrong. The world? Again, don't think so.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

hands? According to you, the majority would vote to confiscate all this private wealth and give it to someone like Chris Daly.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 1:25 pm

A democratic state capitalist sock puppet has joined the thread ;

"That's funny, because most people think that it is the government that messes up, and that if you want something done, you need to give it to a private entity."

A vocal minority (you), unsophisticated reasoning skills (them, all --), but chiefly the unrestrained, pro free market dogma that permeates our culture like so many species of weeds is too blame for this distortion (corporations = good, government = bad)

cui bono? profiteers.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 11:11 am

then I would defend to the death your right to believe that, no matter how bizarre such an opinion is.

But the heyday of the government running businesses was about 40 years ago, since when privatization has been the norm. Evidently you were born 40 years too late.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 11:46 am

There are solutions, each person that receives a bag of food is given a stamp on the right hand,that is hard to wash off. That will prevent people getting multiple bags of food for resale.
Shortage of volunteer staff at the food bank, each non profit that the food bank supplies, as an exchange for receiving food MUST send a volunteer or two from their organization to work at the food bank. No volunteer/s sent no food from the food bank

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 12:33 pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Related articles

  • Proposed food voucher pilot program could feed thousands of hungry San Franciscans

  • Starving in a boom

    The most expensive city in the nation grapples with a hunger problem

  • Mole and mezcal

    Sabrosa serves up sophisticated Mexican dishes and drinks

  • Also from this author

  • Messed up: Did this man vandalize Alejandro Nieto's memorial?

  • San Francisco's shame and triumph: remembering the I-Hotel

  • Mayoral meltdown

    Mayor Ed Lee pushes back against ballot measures for affordable housing, transportation funding