Today San Francisco Food Bank launched the first of five Recession Relief Grocery Pantries slated to open over the next few weeks. These new pantries are specially designed to serve people hit by the recession who have not accessed food assistance before.
To get the word out, we began an ad campaign this Monday, asking people to call 2-1-1 if they had been affected by the recent recession and are in need of food. After dialing 2-1-1, callers are connected with an operator who asks a series of questions that determine the caller’s eligibility to visit these special pantries. Based on their responses, qualified callers will then be referred to the nearest Recession Relief Grocery Pantry.
Our first pantry is operated in partnership with Providence Baptist Church. The spirit of giving was strong in the Bayview this morning, where the unemployment rate is over 40%. More than 20 volunteers from Providence Baptist Church were at the ready, and more than 125 people showed up seeking food. Truly an impressive turnout, painting an urgent picture of the level of need in the community as a result of the recession.
The gingham-wrapped tables were laden with beautiful galvanized tubs filled with gorgeous fresh peaches, perfect potatoes, carrot hearts, red onions, celery, yams, juicy oranges, ripe-red organic tomatoes, amazing cucumbers as well as ravioli, pesto sauce, fruit punch mix, Coffee Mate and bread. Each recipient received a reusable bag. We had signs translated into 5 languages, plus bilingual volunteers from City College. Families and individuals were ecstatic and grateful.
Many thanks to our wonderful volunteers and everyone at San Francisco Food Bank who went to extra efforts to make this new pantry possible. And a big “thank you” to the team at ad agency Engine Company 1, who donated their time to create the campaign that’s spreading the word to those in need.
Here are more photos!