Archive for the Newsletter

Fall/Winter 2012: Seasonal Eating

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Most of the food we give away is fresh produce

Unlike many programs that rely on processed foods and canned goods, The Food Pantry gives away mostly fresh fruits and vegetables. Thanks to the San Francisco Food Bank and its network of farmers, we give away literally tons of delicious, healthy produce every single week. And we’re always grateful for smaller, super-local donations from neighbors who offer us apples, figs, lemons and more from their backyard gardens. If you live in San Francisco and want to share what you grow, give us a call!

We’re still enjoying the last of a spectacular watermelon crop. Soon the citrus will come in, along with apples and pears, cabbage, turnips, potatoes, yams, beets and greens. In every season, we’re so glad to be able to give real, fresh food to the families we serve.

Fall/Winter 2012: Behind The Scenes

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Food Runners delivers

Every Thursday, we get a call from Paul O’Malley, a volunteer driver with the San Francisco-based Food Runners. “I got your bread,” he says. “Dropped it off, see you next week!” And there, at the door of St. Gregory’s, are large bags full of fresh whole-grain loaves, baguettes, rye rounds, and seeded rolls.

Food Runners is a brilliantly simple and incredibly effective nonprofit started in 1987 by chef and cooking school instructor Mary Risley, who was appalled by the waste she saw in restaurants. She persuaded some colleagues in the industry to save their excess food instead of throwing it away, so she and a few friends could pick it up in their cars for delivery to local shelters and food programs. Today, Food Runners has over 200 volunteers like Paul, who make runs in their own vehicles, as well as its own truck and driver for large pickups. In San Francisco, more than 250 restaurants, bakeries, groceries, caterers, company cafeterias and farmers’ markets regularly donate perishable food that would otherwise be thrown out…as do individuals with food left over from one-time events like weddings, company picnics, holiday parties or bar mitzvahs. Food Runners collects it all, and brings the food to hundreds of pantries, after-school programs, shelters, soup kitchens, and children’s centers.

Coordinating, dispatching and arranging pickups and deliveries is the work of Nancy Hahn, director of operations for Food Runners and a passionate supporter of groups like The Food Pantry. “We want to prevent waste and build community,” she says. “Why throw away perfectly good food? There are hungry people who could really use it right now.”

Nancy sends The Food Pantry plenty of bread every week, and she calls us when she has unexpected bounty: last month it was surplus box lunches from a week of conventions, with gourmet sandwiches and cookies, as well as huge untouched trays of cheese and fruit. “600 lunches at the Palace. 600 at the Grand Hyatt. Another 150 at the Marriott,” says Nancy. “It was positively raining food!”

If you live in San Francisco and have food to donate, call Food Runners….a smiling volunteer will come pick it up! If you have time to offer, call Food Runners…Nancy will send you to collect food and deliver it to someone who needs it. You might even find yourself at The Food Pantry, where a grateful group of our volunteers will help unload your car. Food Runners, 415-929-1866.

Fall/Winter 2012: Talking With Our Volunteers

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Volunteer Angel Jamaica with 101-year old Pantry visitor

More than fifty volunteers run The Food Pantry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. Most are people who came to get food and stayed to help out; some are neighbors, and some are first-time visitors. Every one of them has a story, and together they create a living, growing community. This issue’s interview is with Angel Jamaica, 19, who’s one of the leaders at The Food Pantry.

I was born in San Francisco, and grew up here and in Oaxaca. My mother was super-nice. She solved everything with hugs and kisses. She’d always want to go out to the woods, out of the city. She had to get fresh air.

My mom loved helping people. She’d even let strangers stay in our place. I think that’s where I got my thing from: I’m the guy everyone comes to when they’re in trouble. I just say, “Hey, you can talk to me, it’s OK, we’ll work it out.”

When I was seven, we had to leave the cool apartment we were living in. I started switching schools like crazy. My mom and I lived in uncles’ houses, then it got worse: shelters, even the car. But we always stayed together, and that’s what made it bearable to be crammed into a two-door car.

Eventually we got a place in Potrero Hill. I had my own room for the first time in my life. I have a lot of good memories of that apartment, like Mom’s cooking. She’d have the whole table covered in food, and she’d put things together and taste it and experiment. Nowadays I like to spend time in the kitchen throwing stuff together.

I started going to The Food Pantry after my mother contacted St. Gregory’s for help. She was really sick. Everyone knew that at the pantry, and they let me go in first. I’d get this heavy sack of food and have to carry it up over the hill. It was always painful to leave my mom alone. I try to repress the memories.

When I was fifteen, my mom died, and my world turned upside down. I didn’t know how to do anything. I just thought, “Keep going; there must be a reason for it all.”

I started volunteering at the pantry out of gratitude: my mom always taught me to help out. I wasn’t very social, but everyone at the pantry treated me like family, and it became my family, all through high school. My first job was doing heavy lifting, cause I’m a big guy. I looked silent and scary, but people figured out I was a softy. They made this nickname for me: “Baby.” Michael and Eduardo and Kathleen taught me how they run things, and now I get to greet people, work on the line, mediate if there’s a conflict, show visitors around the church, help out whenever something falls through the cracks. A great thing is when the volunteers eat lunch together. It’s beautiful, like the Last Supper––but it’s never the last.

I love my job at the Pantry. It makes me happy when I can help the older women who come. Even if it’s just a bag of food, we’re helping.

Behind The Scenes ~ Fall 2011

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Hundreds of neighbors share food at New Taste Marketplace each month

This fall, we celebrated two wonderful anniversaries: the 11th year of The Food Pantry, and the first year of the New Taste Marketplace. The inspiration of local food activist Elianna Roffman, New Taste Marketplace is a monthly benefit that brings together dozens of the city’s most interesting chefs, bakers, and artisan food producers to support The Food Pantry and St. Gregory’s.  “I like to think of it as an overgrown bake sale,” says Elianna.

The market, like The Food Pantry, happens right in the middle of the church, amid the beautiful icons, where tables are spread with local delights. Volunteers from The Food Pantry, vendors, and visitors come from all over the city to hang out, talk, and savor all kinds of treats: bourbon-peach paletas, home-brewed ginger ale,  smoked brisket sandwiches, Argentine empanadas,  Bangkok green curry, Eritrean chicken stew, salted caramel truffles,  five-spice bacon, butter-crust pear pies,  strawberry mochi, lemon tarts,  pickled artichokes,  pumpkin-seed brittle, local preserves, jams, teas, coffees, and so much more.

“I love it that New Taste is held in the exact same space as The Food Pantry,” says Elianna, who includes local musicians in the market mix, and sets up picnic tables in warm weather where families can eat and mingle. “It adds to the sense of giving and community.” Michael Lee, a vendor whose “Spicy Dumplings” stall is a favorite with visitors, agrees.  “It’s such a perfect marriage of pantry work and the vibrant street food scene that’s exploding here in San Francisco,” he says.  “When I did my first New Taste Marketplace my burners kept short-circuiting and losing power. But even so, there was a certain kind of calmness that I only feel here. Once I walk through the main doors and into the rotunda and see the mural of dancing figures, I know I’ll be greeted by great volunteers from The Food Pantry who’ve been helping feed hungry people for years.”

We’re so grateful for the creativity and generosity of the vendors, and for Elianna’s vision that connects foodies with food pantries. Come and see for yourself: schedule and details at www.newtastemarketplace.org. New Taste Marketplace is food for the soul!

Talking With Our Volunteers ~ Fall 2011

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

More than fifty volunteers run The Food Pantry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. Most are people who came to get food and stayed to help out; some are neighbors, and some are first-time visitors. Every one of them has a story, and together they create a living, growing community. This issue’s interview is with volunteer Mel Raymond.

Food Pantry volunteers Mel and Angela

I grew up in Chester, Pennsylvania. My dad was a volunteering type of guy. I was even a Boy Scout. Never made Eagle, though: I got into music instead. Our family church was Zion Baptist, where I picked up the drums. The best song we did in church was “Bye and Bye,” my grandmother’s favorite. She’d stomp and clap when we sang that hymn, it made her so happy.

My brother was a DJ when he was in high school. He had a lot of equipment, and would always warn me, “Don’t touch it!” But I’d figure out how to unlock his stuff and hook it all up. We were into the hip-hop scene––old-school stuff. My mother hated it. “Turn that rap crap off!” she’d say.

Right after college I was working a temp job and met two guys who also liked hip-hop. We had the same
mindset, the same sense of beats, and started up a little studio in North Philadelphia. It was pretty much a dump. We just had a room with a keyboard, a mic and some software, and the three of us formed a production company making music for local artists.

In 2007 I moved to Phoenix to make music with my friend Raheem. We did a lot of writing and touring, and I found a job in a software company. But I got laid off, and my brother told me to come to the Bay Area. I got work with a software company in San Francisco, and then they laid me off, too.

Two weeks later I was trying to figure out what I should do. I saw the “volunteers wanted” ad for The Food Pantry and it seemed like a good way to pass time. I show up, and the first person I see is Angela, this lady with a big smile, she’s talking fast: “Hello, what’s your name, how are you, are you here to volunteer, that’s great, do you want something to eat, wonderful, wonderful…” Everyone else was really welcoming, too, and from then on it was a wrap.

In Philadelphia, there were all these different social groups, and they were closed off. In San Francisco people pretty much keep to themselves. I just never experienced the diversity of anything like The Food Pantry. I mean, I’m a black guy from the East Coast, and here I’m friends with someone from Argentina, and Chile, and England, and China, and all over. I’ve never had a negative experience. We take care of each other: really, this place is my family.

Sometimes I’d see a few people come for food who I thought. hey, are you just here to work the system? But the more I was around, I understood the philosophy we have: “All are welcome.”  Because if you have a great spirit, if you welcome everyone, things just go the way they should.

I like to work outside with Eduardo and my three elderly Chinese ladies who translate. I call them my girlfriends. You really get to know the families who come to the pantry. The older and disabled folks have opened up to me. I’ve learned so much about all their lives, and I enjoy making sure they’re getting what they need. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to tell them I’m leaving.

Because the hard thing is I’m moving back to Phoenix. I’m going to work with my music partner––his career’s opening up, and he has a place for me. We’re planning a trip to Japan, and some touring inside the country. But I miss it here already.

You really can’t describe in words the spirit of volunteering and fellowship at The Food Pantry. Going through this experience together, you get a more wide-open view: a wider appreciation for humanity and the goodness of humanity.

Fall 2010: Eat, Share, Give

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

When we launched The Food Pantry ten years ago, we served 35 families. Now we have over 1200 registered, and serve up to 600 a week.

It’s hard to see the increasing number of families who come to The Food Pantry looking for help. Many are often newly unemployed, or facing cutbacks at their jobs. Others are struggling to stay in their houses or rental apartments, and some families have lost their homes. We continue to help our neighbors start new food pantries around the Bay Area, but the bottom line is that the need keeps growing.

Thanks to the generosity of our volunteers, who donate their time to staff the pantry and run our operations, food is our main expense. And we’re incredibly efficient: we buy food from the nonprofit San Francisco Food Bank, so it still costs us, on average, just $1 to provide groceries for one family for a week – $50 will help feed a family for a year.

The Food Pantry isn’t funded by the church or by grants, but is supported by donations from individuals. We are so proud of the way that our community has responded in these hard times. We’re grateful for all the gifts and regular pledges that allow us to help 1200 hungry families – and the way so many people, volunteers and donors, pitch in to make sure their neighbors have enough to eat.
All donations are tax-deductible. Please mail us your gift, or donate online. Thank you for being part of this work.

About the pantry

The Food Pantry’s mission is to increase hungry people’s access to food. We run our flagship pantry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco, and offer training, small amounts of start-up money, and support to open other pantries in the Bay Area (so far we’ve helped start 18!)

Every Friday we give away free groceries to as many as 600 hungry families. We set up farmers-market style, providing literally tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, rice, beans, pasta, cereal, bread and more. The pantry is run entirely by volunteers––almost all of them people who came to get food and stayed to help out. Everyone is welcome to receive, and to give. If you’re interested in learning more, contact director Sara Miles (sara@thefoodpantry.org).

Fall 2010: Reflections 2000-2010

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Lauren Coleman

The Food Pantry takes place right in the center of St. Gregory's sanctuary.

The Food Pantry takes place right in the center of St. Gregory's sanctuary.

I came here the first time to get food. I was living in the Tenderloin in a studio with my partner: he was very sick with HIV, and I have Hepatitis C, so neither of us could work.

But I thought, I have a lot to be grateful for. I’m still alive. I can’t stand up and lift things, but I can find some way to help out. It makes me feel more human.

The food is wonderful, but really I love the fellowship. We’re like a team, we work together: if one person is late, or sick, we fill in, and when someone’s having a hard time we take care of each other.

Here, I feel accepted as me. I give out bags at the door, and I talk with everyone who comes to the pantry. I get to learn bits and piece of different languages, and when I say hi, it’s like I’m not just giving food but giving of myself. You know, I may not be the happiest person alive. But I’m grateful I’m here. And I have something to give.

Angela Dow

Two years ago, I saw a picture of The Food Pantry, and it said volunteers could just show up. I got to the church early and saw this woman standing next to a giant stack of bread, unloading loaves. I couldn’t even see all of her, but she called out, “Come on in, and give me a hand!”

I worked at the phone company for 27 years. And when I retired I wanted to find some way to give back the blessings I’ve received. Now on Fridays I do whatever needs doing. And then during the week I work on getting donations for the pantry and recruiting more volunteers.I think there’s more than one way to get to heaven, as long as you’re grateful for what you have and willing to share.

Valentina Borodkina

I just want to say thank you. I come here and it is beautiful. It is a church for all people, the volunteers and the people in line. I have so much love, because you so love to me and my people, the Russian people.

Winston Wu

Each week when I worked outside, greeting and translating, I’d see a line of more than six hundred people, stretching almost a half mile from the food pantry entrance to the top of the hill and back down.

People complained to me the line was too long, the weather too humid, their peers cut in front of them and there’d be nothing left by the time they reached the church.

In spite of all the complaints, the same individuals would come out later with two or more full bags of groceries, their faces brightened with smiles. They’d bow their heads and shake my hands and express their gratitude, and say how the time spent waiting in line was well worth.

Susan Kellerman

There are moments at the pantry when I come up for air and realize how very happy I am to be there. I love the experience of working hard to set up for the day then sitting down together for a meal. There we are, all so different, and all the same, being fed by this small miracle.

Nirmala Cadiz

This is not just a food place for me, it’s a spiritual place. I came for food, and they started asking me to help.We’re all are so different, but we elevate ourselves a bit just by being with each other. I mean, we’re not going to sainthood here, we’re just on a path.

It’s a blessing to be in this body, and to do something if I can. People at the pantry sometimes drive me insane, they push, they fight, I think oh my God, why am I here? I have no idea, but it’s something I have to contemplate.

I don’t know where my story’s going to end, or what I’m doing this for. But it fills my heart. Some people are supposed to be parents, some politicians, I’m supposed to be this — I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s what I am meant for.

Paul Fromberg

I remember looking at the altar the first day I volunteered and seeing it covered in junk food — snacks for the volunteers, nasty stuff. And I thought, “These people need a good meal if they’re going to work all day.” The next week I cooked lunch for the volunteers. It was a big pot of pinto beans, the kind of food my mother would cook on Mondays when I was a kid. I seasoned them up well and put them out on the altar with a bunch of bowls and spoons. I don’t remember when we started putting tables and chairs out for lunch, but now everyone sits down together, after we set up and before we open. I love fixing lunch on Fridays.

Steve Hassett

For a long time, Sara and I would take an hour away from St. Gregory’s pantry and head up the hill to our sister pantry in the Potrero Hill housing projects. We helped deliver bags of groceries to elderly people who couldn’t make it down to the pantry themselves.

One of the regulars was an old woman who was deaf, and wouldn’t be able to hear us knocking at the door. But she knew when we were supposed to come, so she would leave her door unlocked. We’d knock anyway, just in case, let ourselves in and place her groceries on the counter, then let ourselves out.

It always felt like we were breaking in to her house—but like reverse thieves, we were there to leave something, not take stuff. It also felt a little like we were entering a sanctuary; someplace forbidden we weren’t supposed to be.

Week after week we broke into this nice lady’s house and left groceries for her. Then one day, knocking as usual, and opening the door to let myself in, I was surprised to see her standing at the sink, washing some vegetables. She hadn’t heard me, but as the door opened and let in light, she turned to look at me. I smiled sheepishly, put the groceries on the kitchen table, and she, beaming, said triumphantly, “I caught you at last!”

Chris Viola

Original volunteer Chris Viola and operations director Michael Reid.

Original volunteer Chris Viola and operations director Michael Reid.

I was here and started helping out the very first day the pantry opened. I remember there were just some little boxes of food around the altar—it was so small then. We were outside waving and calling to people on the street, telling them to come in. That’s it, that’s the whole spirit of The Food Pantry: “Glad to have you, come on in.”

Even when I was living under the bridge, I’d wake up early to get here by 7AM: it made my week. And now, I can be having a bad day, but I’ll start laughing about things I remember.

Like, why are those watermelons running away down the street? Back at the beginning, sometimes the truck would back up the wrong way and all the food would break out…we’d be chasing potatoes and watermelons down the hill.

Or one time when we had a whole huge bin filled with plums and a lot of them were bad, and Nirmala and I were sorting them. I looked up, and all I could see was Nirmala upside down in the bin, with her legs sticking out, screeching “Chris, help, I’m going under!”

Another time I didn’t even look at Jenny when I was walking by, but I tossed her a cabbage over my shoulder, and she caught it and said, “Sweeeeet!”

Nirmala, Aida, Sara-—you look in their eyes, you get a warmth. Rudy, he’s been breaking down boxes forever, I go out back and tease him. Matt, he’s had some rough times, but he’s a hard worker. All the people here, you look at them, you get love. I don’t use that term lightly, but it’s love. They understand who you are.

Michael Reid

In November 2003, of all things, I wound up handing out groceries at a church. They were only serving about 150 people then. I was waiting to get food and asked to help, really didn’t want to, but would have felt cheap refusing. I only planned to be there for a couple weeks anyway.

I wound up in charge of The Food Pantry. Now I run the Friday operations and I’m on the board. Sometimes I put in ten or fifteen hours even before Friday rolls around, to make sure everything’s in place and nothing goes wrong. Of course something always goes wrong—that’s the nature of the beast. Then it’s all about think on your feet and think fast.

Organizationally, we’ve got it pretty much down to a fine art now. We have 1500 people registered and serve up to 650 a week. But it doesn’t have the cattle-call feel of some other pantries. Some people get off on abusing other folks, but what we do at St. Gregory’s is the exact opposite. I feel you’re dealing with people who are beaten down enough, there should be places that build them up. When people come they’re often very angry, or ashamed to be here, or stressed. It’s important to have a laugh with them. You can be firm and fair, and keep everyone feeling safe. You ask them to do things, don’t yell and scream, and you can get a lot of people wanting to be part of it.

I’ve seen pantries spring up all over the country inspired by our model, and I’ve learned many things about myself. I was a drug addict for ten years. Most of the people I knew then are dead, or doing life in prison. We had a kid at the pantry recently I hadn’t seen for years, he just got out of prison and was looking for help. When I talk to people like that I want to tell them how if you’re ready there are things you can do to make a difference.

Elizabeth Connell

I used to come to The Food Pantry starting when I was ten years old. I was the bread girl. When the pantry was first starting, it was chaotic: I was just this little kid trying not to get pushed over by grownups. I learned to be more assertive, like, “Dude, you shouldn’t be taking extra bread.” It was hard: but it was so great to realize, wow, I’m just a kid, but I’ve got a part it making this thing happen.

Tricia McCarthy

When I ran the Bridge of Books Foundation, I always loved coming to The Food Pantry and giving out free books to the kids. It warmed my heart every time I’d hear “the book lady is here” and see the kids running over. I think my all-time favorite day was the day we gave out brand-new, just-released Harry Potter books. But my most vivid memory is seeing a man in a bottled-water delivery uniform rushing in at the end of the day to get food for his family—obviously trying to just make ends meet. I thought then, and think now, this isn’t the way the world is supposed to be. Thank goodness for The Food Pantry.

Mona Mejia

I’ve been on both ends of the pantry — it helped me out so much when I was out of work. It makes me cry to remember how they gave me a huge box of food, and I was so thankful I could feed my kids. Then I said, can I help? I was welcomed equally as a person who got food and a person who gives. Now when I see other people with kids in line, I feel, ‘I know what it’s like,’ and I’m just so grateful.<br><br>

Fall 2010: Glad to have you; come on in.

Friday, December 3rd, 2010
Volunteers of all ages work at The Food Pantry

Volunteers of all ages work at The Food Pantry

That’s what volunteer Chris Viola has to say about the overall spirit of The Food Pantry, where he’s worked since our founding ten years ago at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. Like almost all of our volunteers, Chris came to get groceries, and wound up staying to help out and run the program. “It’s not like other places,” he says, “because when you come to get food, people act as if they’re glad to see you_—_they’re not judging you. And then it’s, ‘Well, come on in and lend a hand’_—_because this food pantry belongs to everyone.”

The Food Pantry is an all-volunteer organization: it’s not a social service program but, in the deepest sense, a community.

Hundreds of people have volunteered at The Food Pantry since we began: some dropping by once or twice, and some serving every week for years and years. It’s impossible to name everyone who’s ever unpacked pallets, hauled sacks of potatoes, bagged string beans, handed out cabbages, scrubbed the kitchen counters, broken down boxes, cooked lunch, played music, helped old ladies with their carts, given kids candy bars, calmed down freaked-out visitors, figured out systems, and welcomed hungry strangers in out of the rain. We remember some beloved volunteers, like Mark and Alan, who’ve died, and others who have moved away…and we know that new people will keep walking in the doors, bringing their own gifts to share.

We offer free groceries without conditions.

We offer free groceries without conditions.

There are at least fifty volunteers who show up every week to make everything run like a dream: they work tables, they greet people at the front desk, they help on the line in at least seven different languages; they set up and unload and clean all day long. Another twenty volunteers work behind the scenes: shopping at the Food Bank, bringing us fresh fruit from their gardens, building our storage shed, serving as board members, picking up donations, raising money, setting up our computers and volunteering their time to help new pantries start.

And there’s everyone at the San Francisco Food Bank—the warehouse workers and produce guys; the drivers; the program staff and fundraisers and everyone who works with farmers to keep our supply of fresh food going strong. There are the volunteers from Food Runners, who pick up and deliver leftover food from events and restaurants, surprising us every week with special treats. There are the students from Live Oak and Downtown High School and City College. There’s the whole congregation of St. Gregory’s church, which incubated The Food Pantry, supported us, prayed for us, and still offer their beautiful, holy sanctuary every week.

And there are all our donors: the ones who’ve sent us twenty bucks a month for years, the anonymous givers who surprise us with big windfalls, the ones who ask their friends to give to The Food Pantry, the supporters who donate part of their profits to us or just slip us a couple of dollars when they can.

Founder Sara Miles

Founder Sara Miles

And there are our sister pantries around the city, especially those that The Food Pantry has helped start with seed money and encouragement and training, including Bayview Commons, Bayview Mission, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Haight-Ashbury Food Pantry, ISA High School, Julian Pantry, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Samoan Assembly of God, St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, St. Francis Episcopal Church, True Sunshine Episcopal Church and Starr King Elementary.

Truly, our life at The Food Pantry is a life of gratitude. We are so glad you’re here — thank you, and come on in!

Sara Miles, Founder, Director, The Food Pantry

Spring 2010: about the pantry

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
Gift cards from The Food Pantry!

Gift cards from The Food Pantry!

The Food Pantry’s mission is to increase hungry people’s access to food. We run our flagship pantry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco, and offer training, small amounts of start-up money, and support to open other pantries in the Bay Area (so far we’ve helped start 18!)

Every Friday we give away free groceries to as many as 600 hungry families. We set up farmers-market style, providing literally tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, rice, beans, pasta, cereal, bread and more. The pantry is run entirely by volunteers––almost all of them people who came to get food and stayed to help out. Everyone is welcome to receive, and to give. If you’re interested in learning more, contact director Sara Miles (sara@thefoodpantry.org).

Spring 2010: eat, share, give

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
More and more people are looking for food.

More and more people are looking for food.

It’s hard to see the increasing number of families who come to The Food Pantry looking for help. Many are often newly unemployed, or facing cutbacks at their jobs. Others are struggling to stay in their houses or rental apartments, and some families have lost their homes. We continue to help our neighbors start new food pantries around the Bay Area, but the bottom line is that the need keeps growing.

As of this spring, we have registered 1200 people, assigning them alternate weeks to come to The Food Pantry at St. Gregory’s. This means that each individual can only get groceries every other week, and, for the first time in nine years, that we can’t always offer food to every person who shows up.

If we are to serve new people, The Food Pantry must raise more money to buy food. Thanks to the generosity of our volunteers, who donate their time to staff the pantry and run our operations, food is our main expense. And we’re incredibly efficient: it still only costs us, on average, just $1 to provide groceries for one family for a week– $50 will help feed a family for a year.

The Food Pantry isn’t supported by the church or by government agencies, but is funded by donations from people like you. We are so proud of the way that our community has responded in these hard times. We’re grateful for all the gifts and regular pledges that allow us to help 1200 hungry families––and the way so many people, volunteers and donors, pitch in to make sure their neighbors have enough to eat.

All donations are tax-deductible. Please mail us your gift, or donate online:. Thank you for being part of this work.