Warehouse crew hops to it, distributing 108,000 eggs for Easter!

Our warehouse is really hopping! Dave & Al helped move 108,000 eggs out to needy families for Easter.

It’s EGGxactly what we were hoping for this Easter! California egg farmers hatched a plan to donate 108,000 fresh eggs to the SF Food Bank. Our crack (but not egg-cracking!) warehouse crew got into the holiday spirit as they played Easter Bunny to thousands of San Francisco families…

Got a donation of products or cash that would help make a hungry family’s holiday? We’re all ears!!

Farm fresh for all

Given the incredible bounty of California agriculture, there’s no reason why farm-fresh food shouldn’t be available to as many people as possible.

Thanks to the statewide Farm to Family program, the SF Food Bank has added broccoli and cauliflower to the variety of fresh produce we can distribute consistently.

Here’s how it works.


Broccoli field

Normally, growers  go through a field three times in one season to pick cauliflower and broccoli. When growers go in to make that third cut, they now harvest for retail AND state foods banks at the same time.

A harvester tags a box of cauliflower

We have the retailers’ stringent standards to thank for the bounty. Most shoppers favor uniformity and consistent color in their vegetables, which growers strive to deliver in their crops. Any off colors, odd sizes or just plain unusual-looking veggies wouldn’t normally make the cut. Of course, even the homeliest of vegetables are just as nutritious as their market-ready counterparts.

A conveyor belt moves cauliflower up onto a mobile unit for grading and packaging

Broccoli harvest

One slightly-too-small crown here and a few errant purple spots there, and soon, you’ve got a lot of vegetables that wouldn’t make it to the supermarket. 182,848 lbs. to date, in fact – all of it packed in the field in reusable plastic bins for delivery to the Food Bank…

 

…and on to our over 400 pantry sites throughout San Francisco and Marin.

 

Pantry at the Pierre Hotel in the Tenderloin

A volunteer stocks broccoli at the Pierre Hotel pantry in the Tenderloin.

The mother of all Thanksgiving shopping lists!

Food Resources Manager John Curry, with some of the 143,012 cans of veggies we'll be distributing thisThanksgiving.

You’re probably reading over your favorite family recipes and putting together a Thanksgiving shopping list this week. Well, how would you like to have this list?

  34,000 Chickens
  80,000 Pounds of yams
100,000 Pounds of potatoes
  80,000 Pounds of apples
  30,000 Pounds of carrots
  35,000 Pounds of cabbage
  70,000 Pounds of onions
  20,000 Pounds of lettuce
  40,000 Pounds of celery
  36,720 Cans of cranberry sauce
  35,000 Pounds of rice
143,012 Cans of green beans, corn and peas
  36,000 Packets of gravy mix
    6,400 Bottles of Asian sauce
  13,000 Loaves of bread
  32,000 Bags of pumpkin spice cookie mix
    3,000 Pounds of chocolates

You guessed it – these are all the Thanksgiving groceries our Food Resources department has been working to gather for distribution to families in need.

Just imagine three semi trailers of potatoes pulling up to your house. That’s how many we’ll be delivering for holiday meals. Not to mention a couple more truckloads full of yams!

Just a few of the 100,000 pounds of potatoes headed for Thanksgiving meals.

Thanks to Del Monte, we have canned veggies stacked to the rafters, plus tons of fresh produce sourced through the Farm to Family program.

“I’m particularly excited that we’re able to offer people a holiday cookie mix this year,” Food Resources Manager John Curry explains. “Even though we had to pay to store it for several months, it was a great donation.”

We were especially excited to get our hands on 32,000 bags of pumpkin spice coookie mix.

While some holiday foods are donated, SF Food Bank has had to buy many others, including 34,000 chickens set to arrive in our warehouse over the course of four days. Each shipment will be turned around instantly and delivered to grocery pantries across San Francisco and Marin. These “just-in-time” deliveries, thanks to supplier Pacific Agri-Products, save us a bundle on cold-storage.

In addition to holiday classics like gravy mix (36,000 packets!) and cranberry sauce (36,720 cans just arrived!), we also try to offer culturally appropriate foods, including bottles of Asian oyster sauce.

This year, we’re targeting to provide Thanksgiving food to 35,705 families – more than a million pounds of food in all. If you’d like to help us with our massive shopping list, go here. As always, every $100 donation enables us to distribute $600 worth of food. And for that, we truly give thanks!

San Francisco Food Bank ‘Egg-static’ over large egg donation

Today, the San Francisco Food Bank received 88,650 eggs just in time for Easter from NuCal Foods. They were all  sourced locally from a farm in Petaluma, CA.  Fresh eggs are always a prized item for Food Banks due to their dense nutritional and high protein content.  And they’re one of the hardest food categories for food banks to acquire.

The eggs we got were slightly smaller in size than what’s generally considered most desirable by consumers.  But wggs of any size are very popular out at our pantries.  We recently spoke to an unemployed nanny at a pantry in the Bayview who told us that her kids love to eat eggs for breakfast.

This donation of over 7,000 dozen eggs from NuCal will help to feed the 1 in 4 children and 1 in 5 adults at risk of hunger in San Francisco.  They’ve already been sent out to our pantries, including senior centers and community centers serving large families.

David Arquette, Laila Ali, Nomar Garciaparra, Jay Bilas and Spencer Day Volunteer!

Today our Youth with a Mission grocery pantry was all abuzz. The tables were set up with a big selection of beautiful produce, and slightly nervous volunteers were at the ready…

david_arquette

The big difference from a normal Thursday? Today some celebrities who care deeply about hunger were turning out to call attention to the important work SF Food Bank does – and to help distribute food…

TV and film star David Arquette; boxer and “Dancing with the Stars” alum Laila Ali; Oakland A’s player Nomar Garciapara; ESPN anchor Jay Bilas; and singer Spencer Day all pitched in at the Tenderloin-based pantry…

Laila_Ali

But they weren’t alone. A flock of TV news cameras and reporters were there to cover the story, shedding light on the great work our Programs staff and volunteers (all superstars themselves!) do every day.

Many thanks to international nonprofit ONEXONE and the national organization of food banks, Feeding America, which organized the event. The heads of those two organizations, Joey Adler and Vicki Escarra, volunteered today as well.

Another New Grocery Pantry Opens in the Sunset!

Youth volunteers

San Francisco Food Bank welcomed a new grocery pantry this past weekend at First United Presbyterian Church in the Sunset District.

Ready volunteers

This community-centered church already offers ESL (English as a Second Language) classes and its parishioners are excited to be able to better serve their community by providing free groceries to those in need. Word is spreading and client numbers are already climbing as the pantry gets rolling.

Pantry movement

This past Saturday, pantry volunteers met clients with big, welcoming smiles as they distributed lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, taco seasoning, cucumbers, luncheon meat, flavored water, yams and cabbage.

Handing out food

A variety of volunteers who spoke Taiwanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog and Korean were available to share recipes and give clients information on the many uses of taco seasoning!

Restock3

At the San Francisco Food Bank, we’re proud that we’ve been able to reach out to diverse neighborhoods and communities. At many grocery pantries, we serve clients who speak a wide range of languages and have diverging food needs. We try to provide culturally appropriate food items (for example, beans for Latino clients and rice for Asian clients), but we also work to educate people about tasty, nutritious food items they might not be familiar with.

Strong volunteer2

Congratulations to the hard-working volunteers at First United Presbyterian Church and our tireless Programs staff for launching another successful grocery pantry!

Today’s Fruit of the Day – Grapes!

sunworld grapes

1,980 cases of grapes came in today thanks to the Farm to Family program and SunWorld packers! That’s 15,840 bags of sweet, seedless grapes.
Here they are in our cooler – 22 pallets, all tagged for delivery to a neighborhood pantry.

grapes for pantry

SF Food Bank’s Gary Maxworthy Honored with a Jefferson Award

maxworthy
San Francisco Food Bank board member and architect of the Farm to Family program, Gary Maxworthy, has again been recognized for his contributions to providing millions of pounds of fresh produce for California’s hungry.

Last month, Gary was invited to the White House to celebrate the launch of the new White House Office of Social Innovation.

Now he is being honored with a local Jefferson Award from CBS5. Read all about why Gary was selected for this prestigious award and see a video here.

On the local level, Jefferson Awards recipients are ordinary people who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition or reward. By honoring the recipients, it is the goal of the Jefferson Awards to inspire others to become involved in community and public service. Learn more about the Jefferson Awards here.

SF Food Bank’s Gary Maxworthy at the White House

SFFB's Gary Maxworthy at the White House

SFFB's Gary Maxworthy at the White House

Gary Maxworthy, a San Francisco Food Bank board member and architect of the Farm to Family program, recently was invited to the White House. Here is his report:

I received an invitation to The White House and four days later, June 30, I was there in the East Room, listening to President Barack Obama announce and describe the new White House Office of Social Innovation.

Here is how it happened. The program I developed, Farm to Family, and I had been cited as an example when Michele Obama was introduced as the keynote speaker at a Volunteer and Social Innovation convention in San Francisco earlier that week.

I was honored for Farm to Family, and also as an example of a person working in an “encore” career using their experience and – in my case – knowledge of the food industry.

It all began when I was a Vista volunteer, working at the San Francisco Food Bank. We started Farm to Family in 2000, distributing fresh fruits and vegetables to people in need throughout California. The program directly connects California food growers and packers to food banks, distributing fresh fruits and vegetables which aren’t considered marketable – due to shape, size, slight blemishes or overproduction – but are still delicious and healthy to eat. In the past, this surplus produce was ploughed under, fed to animals or dumped in landfills.

The produce is distributed through more than 40 food banks, through the California Association of Food Banks, at no cost to those families receiving it. In 2009 we will distribute over 78 million pounds of produce, with more than 50 different crops represented. We estimate over 500,000 people in need receive Farm to Family fresh fruits and vegetables every week.

In 2007, I received a Purpose Prize for my work with Farm to Family. This prize recognizes people over 60 who are enjoying socially innovative encore careers. Thanks to the Purpose Prize, my work came to the White House’s attention.

Now about my trip.

First I did not get fly on Air Force One, sleep in the Lincoln bedroom or have breakfast with Michele and the kids. I did have the opportunity to see up close the strength of the President’s character, his leadership and charisma.

My day at the White House began with brunch at an elegant home, meeting others being honored. Reaching the White House and after going through security, we were free to look around a series of sitting and dining rooms close to the “East Room” where the president was to speak. It was a thrill to gaze out onto the lawn and the Washington Monument beyond from the interior of the White House.

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The Washington Monument, seen from inside the White House

The president spoke for about 20 minutes, announcing the new White House Office of Social Innovation and congratulating the Social Innovators invited for the event.

President Obama speaks about the new Office of Social Innovation (that's advisor David Gergen's head in the foreground)

President Obama speaks about the new Office of Social Innovation (that's advisor David Gergen's head in the foreground)

The White House office on Social Innovation’s mission is to encourage innovative programs, like Farm to Family, and to replicate them in other states.

Here are some fellow Purpose Prize winners who were also honored that day at the White House for their innovative programs.

After the main event, I had the opportunity to spend time with Jeff Bleich, a San Francisco resident now working in the White House as Special Council to the President. Jeff was instrumental in spearheading the Food Bank’s very successful “Food from the Bar” program (where law firms volunteer, run food drives and raise donations) for several years.

For me it was an honor to participate in the White House event, and gives me continued energy to help grow Farm to Family to serve more families in need!

If you wish to learn more about Farm to Family, here is a video:

For those interested in learning more about Purpose Prize, you’ll find more information here.

One of these things is just like the other

chicken_broth

The only difference between these two cans of chicken broth is the label. But that makes all the difference in the world to a food retailer.

We’re able to accept donations like the “shiner” on the left because of all of the wonderful volunteers who labelled and repacked this can…and the 48,000 others like it. Thanks to them, this wall of chicken broth went to feed hungry San Franciscans – and not the landfill.

Wall_of_Broth

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