Out of school – and minus a meal



“Imagine you don’t have a well-paying job. Imagine you don’t have a nice apartment, or your home. You have three kids. You’re working part-time at McDonald’s. Then you have another job on top of that. You have one child in childcare, two in school, and you’re paying more than half of your income for rent. But you know your child has food at school.

That’s the situation many of our clients face, as described by Venus, who runs a grocery pantry supported by SF Food Bank. It sounds bad enough – but this time of year, it gets even tougher:

“Now, imagine that the summer comes. You now have to find someone to take care of your children, and you need to make sure they have three meals every day. Can you imagine yourself working two more jobs, or another job just to barely make ends meet? Can you imagine yourself letting your children go hungry?”

While most of us are looking forward to camp, vacations and fun in the sun, thousands of children are at even greater risk of going hungry this summer – a staggering 38,000+ in San Francisco and Marin alone.

Summertime means that children who normally receive free or subsidized school lunches are suddenly minus a meal – in many cases, the one meal they could count on. The San Francisco Food Bank will make every effort to fill in that gap.

We’ve added an additional program to our plate, partnering with the Department of Children, Youth & Their Families to provide healthy snacks daily for 4,000 kids.

Our Programs Department also works hard to help keep our school grocery pantries open, or redirects school pantry visitors to other locations, as needed. And we make sure those pantries that serve an increased number of families have enough food to go around.

Through the coming months, we’ll distribute enough food for 93,000 meals every day, including fresh-picked summer produce: corn, tomatoes, peaches, plums, watermelon and much more.

So as we head into summer, please help us ensure that every child has enough to eat. Because for so many, in summertime the living is not easy.

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!!

Stories that inspired us in 2010

5-year olds Ethan, Emily and Sophia taught us that you don't have to be big to make a big difference.

This past year, the need for food was staggering. We constantly broke our all-time monthly record for the most food delivered to hungry families in San Francisco and Marin, distributing millions of pounds of food every month.

How did we do it? With the help of amazing volunteers, donors and clients who constantly inspire us. Here are the people – and the stories – that will continue to inspire us to work even harder in 2011, not stopping until hunger in our community is truly a thing of the past:

Inspiration #1

There were a few tears shed in our office when this letter arrived…

Tamar and Ginger, thank you - and we’re so glad things are looking up for you!

Inspiration #2

Toan Lam, of GoInspireGo made this video about Herman Travis, who noticed that homebound seniors in his public housing community needed food and took it upon himself to see that they received it…

Read more about Herman and his good deeds here.

Inspiration #3

The pre-schoolers at With Care Child Care reminded us that, no matter how small you are, you can make a huge difference. See how they did it in this GoInspireGo video…

Read more about these amazing With Care kids and their teacher, Kathleen, here.

Inspiration #4

The story of pantry client “Ginny” and her teenage son reminded us of how important every single vegetable is…

“Ma, you got anything to eat?” And sad to say, a lot of times it’s like, “Mom, there’s nothing to eat.” That’s the worst thing, when your child is hungry and he can’t just get something to eat when he wants it. A lot of times, I eat less and sometimes don’t even eat so he can have something.

If we didn’t have the food bank, it would be a lot worse for my son. He’s a growing kid, he’s always hungry! And I’m always like, look, you gotta save something for another day. At our food bank here, we get vegetables and rice and a couple of things of juice. I appreciate it all, but you have to make it last. What I’ll do with certain kinds of vegetables we get – like onions, celery and bell pepper – is wash it off, soak it, cut it all up and freeze it. That way, it can stretch…

Read more of Ginny’s story here.

Inspiration #5

When we put out a call for people to write letters of hope and support that would go to our clients along with Thanksgiving groceries, thousands of letters flooded in, including one from San Francisco 49er Kevin Jurovich and a stack of letters and drawings from school children, some even in Spanish and Chinese… 

Read more about the Thanksgiving notes here.

 

Inspiration #6

Behind every one of our 200+ neighborhood grocery pantries are the volunteer pantry coordinators who take on the tremendous job of getting the food distributed every week. Here’s how a coordinator at one of our newest Healthy Children pantries sees the impact it’s making on a school in Marin…

A lot of people would probably be surprised to see the hunger and homelessness we encounter. It’s a wake-up call, especially here in Marin County. We discovered that we had between 100 and 110 homeless students at our school at any given time, and the only meals they ate were from our cafeteria. So not only were the students not getting a meal before or after school, the rest of their family wasn’t, either. That kind of instability, of constantly moving, of never living under your own roof or having enough to eat – that creates a tough environment for a child. These are some serious obstacles to learning. But I think our market is helping. It’s a small act with a big impact.

Read more about this wonderful new pantry here.  These are just a few of the people who inspired us this year. (There are a lot more stories here.) To all our many volunteers, donors, staff and clients, we give our sincere thanks – and our promise that we’ll work even harder in 2011, to make sure every family in our community has the food they need to thrive. If you’d like to help inspire us, please visit our website to learn more, donate and volunteer.

Pudge is worth his weight in food for the hungry

"Woof! I'm ready for my close-up!" Pudge the bulldog turned out in his finest to support the ABC 7 Holiday Food Drive this week.

People come up with all sorts of creative ways to collect food for the San Francisco Food Bank. Case in point, Valerie Lo, who invited friends (both human and canine) over for a party. The goal? To match twice the weight of her bulldog, Pudge, in donated food.

Pudge proudly poses with donations. How could you resist that face?

Luckily, Pudge is – well – pudgy. So the goal was 100 pounds of food, or “two Pudges,” as Valerie put it. Not only did Valerie’s guests bring 156 pounds of food (more than three Pudges), they also wrote $170 in checks – which enables the San Francisco Food Bank to distribute $1,020 worth of food!

Valerie and Pudge also turned out (in the rain, no less) to support the ABC 7 Holiday Food Drive this week. We’re hoping it brings in thousands of Pudges’ worth of food, because this holiday season, the need is greater than ever. We need cash, too. If you’d like to donate, click here, and we’ll give Pudge the credit. Consider giving $50 (a dollar for every pound of Pudge). That will enable us to distribute $300 worth of food. We think Pudge would approve!

Pudge checks out the haul.

New Hybrid Truck Rolls Out Savings – and a New Look

San Francisco Food Bank client Onesimo Flores joins California State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma and Food Bank Deputy Executive Director Leslie Bacho in front of the new hybrid truck. Food Bank client Ava is depicted on the truck, enjoying a "very, very, very, very, very special delivery."

The San Francisco Food Bank recently celebrated the arrival of our first hybrid truck. Not only will the new truck mean a 38% savings in fuel costs, but it will also cut back on noise and pollution in neighborhood areas when deliveries are made.

The new truck’s look is as bold as its fuel savings. Actual Food Bank clients are pictured on each side, holding groceries like those the truck will be delivering to our 200+ pantries.

Our new truck, with some of the produce it will be delivering to hungry children, seniors and families.

Over the next five years, the San Francisco Food Bank aims to replace all 11 diesel trucks in our fleet with hybrid vehicles, in order to meet state-mandated regulations.

With our entire fleet converted to hybrid, we’ll see a fuel savings of approximately $25,842 every year. That’s enough to distribute an additional 103,000 pounds of food—or enough groceries for more than 80,700 meals!

The media turned out in full force for the truck’s launch (including three different TV stations), and California State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma joined in the festivities, along with a very proud SF Food Bank client, Onesimo Flores, 74, who is pictured on the truck.

SF Food Bank client, Onesimo Flores, 74, poses next to his photo on the new truck.

Our Grants Department worked tirelessly to make the new hybrid truck a reality. The truck purchase was made possible by a generous $100,000 lead gift from the Trustees’ Philanthropy Fund of the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund and a $30,000 voucher from the California Air Resources Board’s Hybrid Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP).

The San Francisco Food Bank is grateful to all of the community partners supporting the effort to green our fleet: CALSTART, Eaton, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Coast Counties Peterbilt and Peterbilt Motors Company.

Thanks also goes out to Susan Fleming photography and advertising agency Engine Company 1, for helping us with the truck’s new look and text.

We need your help, too! Replacing all of our fleet with hybrid trucks in just five years is a huge challenge. If you’d like to help, please contact our Development Department at 415-292-1900.


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.

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