Back to School
This post from volunteer Karen Eckersley, who helps greet people at our front desk:
Every couple of years, we have to issue new cards to the more than 1300 people who come to get food at The Food Pantry. We don’t ask people to prove anything, or do a needs test, but because of the incredible demand we ask that folks only come every other week (designated “red” and “blue” weeks) and at different times, so nobody has to wait for a long time. We issue cards with a number, printed on either red or blue paper, and in this way we keep track of how many visit the food pantry, and what time they’re supposed to come. This was the blue week, and the red cards were reissued last week.
New cards make for a long day. It was really hot (for San Francisco.) And it took some time for Kathleen and Alex and me at the front desk to get all the numbers organized. Angela and Eduardo and Elaine and Winston were outside for hours, in what passes for blazing sun around here. There were a lot of questions before everyone was reassured that there would still be food for all, and as we explained what was happening in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Russian, Tagalog and Spanish. When we finished at 4PM, we were proud that all the cards had been issued correctly, and that everyone understood the system.
We a received a fabulous donation via our partners at Food Runners: beautiful tomatoes and other vegetables, along with fresh corn, cantaloupes, fish, chile peppers, and salad from the San Francisco Food Bank.
We sign up new families every week, and listen to many stories about how hard it is to make ends meet. Fortunately, this time of year sees a lot of fruits and vegetables, and we have enough food for everyone to take home something fresh and delicious for dinner. Thanks to all our friends and supporters and volunteers for making this happen.