These new pantries were created to serve people hit by the recession who have not accessed food assistance before. (If you need food, and live in San Francisco, dial 2-1-1 on your phone for the pantry nearest you.)
Who are the people visiting this grocery pantry, getting help for the first time?
Ines (shown in the photo above with her two daughters) is from Guanajuato, Mexico. Both she and her husband work at a company that puts on events, but business has been slow lately. She said that sometimes there’s only work 2 days out of the week, so money is very tight. She marveled at all the variety on offer and said she was glad that her daughters had something to eat.
Ramon is from the Philippines and he’d heard about the pantry through his brother-in-law. He has a part-time job at a shipping company, which he managed to get 6 months ago when he was let go from his previous job (also at a shipping company). He said he felt lucky to have that job, even though it’s not enough hours, because so many people don’t have work at all. He said he was having depression issues. He also kept saying that he felt like other people need the help more than he does, and seemed to be struggling with the idea of having to get help:
“When my brother-in-law told me about this, I was a little hesitant, to be honest. I see people who need help more than I do. People who don’t have a home, or people who have bigger problems. And when you walk around on the street, people don’t see you like you are someone who goes to the food bank. I don’t want to tell people that. I don’t think of myself like that. I don’t see myself that way – so many people need help more than I do. But it’s hard to make enough money these days. It’s so hard to find a job.”
Despite being in the fog-blanketed Outer Mission, this grocery pantry has some of the sunniest, most excited volunteers ever. Many are parents or grandparents who bring children along to share the spirit of giving; quite a few are multilingual, easing the way for those new to the process. They’re thrilled to be helping out friends and neighbors, many of whom hadn’t known where to turn or had been afraid to ask for help.
In its first two weeks, the pantry has offered a bounty of groceries from the SF Food Bank warehouse, including fresh watermelons, mushrooms, zucchini, strawberries, plums, potatoes, onions, cantaloupe, two kinds of summer squash, corn, carrots, yams, bananas, cucumbers and tomatoes – plus rice, pizza dough, chicken sausage with spinach and feta and peach Izzy sodas.
This week, the Geneva grocery pantry served more than 65 thankful families, and we’re expecting that number to increase every week, as word spreads.
Filed under: Children, Families, Farm Fresh, Fruits and Vegetables, Pantry Network, Recession Relief, Volunteer | Tagged: 211, assistance, bank, economy, food, new, pantry, recession, relief | 2 Comments »