Every week we give away hundreds and hundreds of pounds of fresh bread. Most of it is donated by local bakeries and stores––we get huge bags of whole wheat, sourdough, multigrain, raisin, pumpernickel and white loaves; crumpets, croissants, danishes, rolls and muffins; tortillas, naan, pita and lavash; bagels and bialys, rounds and rings. Thanks to all our bakers, drivers, and donors who make it possible to feed the people with such fresh and delicious daily bread!
Listen to (or read) this story by Jen Chien for Crosscurrents, which aired today on San Francisco’s public radio station, KALW. It’s all about The Food Pantry, (“San Francisco Food Pantry Fosters Connection in Hard Times”) and features interviews with our volunteers and many of the people who use the pantry.
An excerpt: “The diversity in the line outside the Food Pantry is matched by an equal diversity inside the church. The volunteers who run the pantry are from many different backgrounds. They start arriving at 8am to organize and prepare groceries. The bounty is impressive, with piles of red bell peppers, oranges, bags of broccoli florets, cabbages, tomatoes, cantaloupes, dried fruit, brown rice, canned beans, bread, and frozen salmon filets.The volunteers take several hours to sort and prepare the groceries for distribution. Then they break for a communal lunch before the first wave of recipients comes in at noon. The whole atmosphere of the place is joyous and friendly, with people smiling and chatting as they work….”
The Food Pantry will be closed on November 25 (the day after Thanksgiving), December 23 (the Friday before Christmas) and December 30 (the Friday before New Years.)
If you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift for family and friends, consider making a donation to The Food Pantry in a loved one’s name. Send us a donation, along with the name and address of the person you’d like to honor, and we will send them a beautiful notecard, letting them know that you’ve made a gift in their name.
You can make a donation of any amount: $50 will buy groceries for a hungry family for a whole year! Send your checks and notecard requests to: The Food Pantry, 500 DeHaro Street, San Francisco CA 94107, or use the “donate” button on our website. Thank you for sharing the holidays with others, and helping us bring about PEACE ON EARTH, AND FOOD FOR ALL.
Unlike many programs that rely on canned goods and processed foods, The Food Pantry gives away mostly fresh fruits and vegetables. Thanks to the San Francisco Food Bank and its network of local farmers, we distribute literally tons of delicious, healthy produce every single week. And we’re always grateful for smaller, super-local donations from backyard gardeners, who share their extra produce with us: if you live in San Francisco and want to donate fruit or vegetables from your garden, give us a call!
Winter means we go back to our roots in a big way: yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, carrots, turnips and beets….and greens to keep it all fresh. For fruit we have apples and pears, and the last of the grapes, with citrus of all kinds starting to come in. It makes a big difference to the families we serve when they can eat real food instead of packaged food.
This November marks the 11th year of The Food Pantry. We give thanks for all the volunteers, over the years, who’ve lent their brains, backs, arms and whole hearts to this work, and who have come together to create a vibrant, living community; to our donors, who offer cans of beans, dollar bills and steady pledges; to St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, which incubated us, loves us and prays for us; to New Taste Marketplace and its cooks, bakers and vendors, whose passion for food is matched with a passion for feeding people; to the San Francisco Food Bank and its network of growers who provide us with fresh, healthy food…and to all of you, who sustain us.
Please make your own Thanksgiving gift here, and share your thanks with us.
Distributing tons of fresh food, as we do every week at The Food Pantry, requires an energetic and skilled backstage crew –volunteers to break down boxes and cart them to our recycling shed; load hundreds of pounds of corn husks and rotten tomatoes and broken bits of bread into the compost, and keep the whole pantry area clean. Thanks to all who work behind the scenes to feed the people!
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.