Melba Maldonado and Luis Vasquez Gomez preparing for the Food Bank on Wednesday. Photo by Lydia Chávez

En Español

Many of the organizations where immigrants might generally turn to have closed their offices to ensure the safety of their staff and clients, but instead of being open to walk-in help, they are hoping to assist via text and the phone. 

Christopher Gil, from MEDA, wrote in an email that MEDA coaches can still be contacted (call/text/email) for one-on-one appointments to be conducted over the phone. 

“For general assistance, community members can call (415) 282-3334, ext. 101, and leave a callback number. This line will be checked throughout the day by MEDA staff,” he wrote in an email, adding that they are in discussions with the city “regarding resources that are in the works to help under-resourced community members with prospective economic impacts. For now, the City has asked us to direct community members to this website.” (En Espanol) (Chinese) (Filipino)

Those places that have closed until early April include: The Mission Economic and Development Agency,  Jamestown Community Center The Boys and Girls Clubs

CompassSF has closed its offices but is also working with clients remotely.

On the upside, Katz Bagels was open this morning, even if it will be closing at the end of the month.   

UPDATE: 11:49 a.m.

Melba Maldonado, the executive director of La Raza Community Resource Center at 474 Valencia St., stood with her staff indoors in front of a large container of Purell that was only a quarter filled.  “The issue is we only have this,” she said imploring them to find more and they prepare to hand out food boxes on Wednesday and to let their clients that have appointments meet one-on-one with their three attorneys.

Melba Maldonado, executive director. Photo by Lydia Chávez

The Wednesday food distribution is only for the 154 families that are already registered, but the site now gets 14 emergency boxes every two weeks that they will hand out to anyone that is needy. But, Maldonado said, “We cannot register anyone new now.”

Other than the food program and the already-made appointment with the center’s attorneys, the Center is closed and clients are carefully being let in – one-by-one at the front door, which once open for walk-ins, is now locked.

At the Women’s Building this morning, Kristen Acosta had just finished up the regular food bank distributions to their 150 regulars who arrive between 9:10 and 9:50 a.m. At 9:50 they open the food bank to anyone who walks in. Generally, they have 15 or so walk-ins, but today they had 30 to 40.

Northgate Bethel SF at 1325 Valencia Street is also continuing its regular food distribution schedule on Saturdays from 9-10a.m. “We’re given additional food so we can give more to everybody,” said Cori McGee, coordinator of the food pantry. “We have plenty of food to go around. Anybody who needs assistance with extra food, they’re welcome to come.”

McGee said that “normally if people are already registered with other food pantries,” they do not service them. She said that they are more flexible now, including for those who might not qualify under the income guidelines and for those who need other people to pick up food for them. They also offer home deliveries of food on Saturdays, but the delivery service is scheduled to end on April 4. Northgate Bethel SF is expected to be closed on Easter.

Homeless Prenatal at 1200 18th Street is only open to “active members” who need emergency food and diapers. Other clients with case management needs would be assisted over the phone.

St. Peter’s Parish will continue its regular food distribution on Fridays from 10 a.m to 12 p.m.

On Monday, workers at Mission High School were wiping down the inside of the school, preparing for tomorrow’s clients.

Cleaning up at Mission High School.

At the Hamilton Family Center, some programs are cancelled as well. “We have decided to suspend our Children and Youth Services for the time being,” said Jason Mandell, interim chief executive officer, and Rachel Kenemore, chief development officer of the Hamilton Family Center. “We have canceled our March Madness for Good fundraiser and postponed all community events for the time being.”

“However, Hamilton Families’ shelter, transitional housing, housing services, and real estate programs will continue without interruption,” Mandell and Kenemore emphasized in a statement.

They said that in their shelter and transitional housing programs, clients are provided with wash areas and sanitizing supplies. “We have also created a comprehensive cleaning schedule that will prioritize wiping down common areas,” they said.

People Organizing to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights, or better known as PODER, has canceled its meetings with members, youth programs for high schoolers for the next three weeks, and its education presentations at organizations, such as the SF Immigrant and Education Network.

“It has been, in many ways, affecting the community as a whole,” said Antonio Diaz, organizational director at PODER.

Diaz said that they were scheduled to start census-related community awareness activities this week, but they have decided to do the campaign by phone instead.

Here is a map, again, of where school meals can be picked up. In the Mission, that would be at Mission High School and Cesar Chavez Elementary School. These deliveries do not begin until Tuesday. And even then, 8 sites will be open 9-10 a.m. The following day, 14 will be open, and on Thursday all 18 sites will be open Monday through Friday 9-10 a.m. to pick-up breakfast, lunch, supper, fresh fruit, vegetables and milk to take home. Mission High School starts Tuesday and Cesar Chavez Elementary begins Thursday.  See all locations and schedules here.

Map of where you can pick up free meals during school closures.


Tartine Bakery is only open for takeout. Bi-Rite was carefully admitting only 25 shoppers at a time. And nearly all the cafes and restaurants that remained open this morning had only one or two customers inside. Mission Picnic at Valencia Street and 21st saw a 90 percent drop in revenue over the last week because of its loss in catering business, according to owner Sterling Price. The restaurant was still doing deliveries, but Price remained wary, as few people were ordering. “It’s one thing to be open for delivery but if you’re not breaking even what’s the point,” he said.

Storefront after storefront on Valencia Street Monday morning was closed, many with signs announcing they would stay that way in the days to come. Some were open. Claudia Echerria, a cashier at El Buen Sabor on Valencia and 18th said business is down 50 percent at one of the Mission’s most popular taquerias. When asked if they planned to close, Echerria said: “We’ll see.”

The restaurant Prairie on 19th near Mission Street converted its dining area to a “general store” where folks can purchase shelf-stable foods. “We realized that grocery stores were being pillaged for shelf-stable foods and there’s huge demand for basic ingredients for home cooks as people are practicing social distancing and going out less,” said Prairie chef and owner Anthony Strong in a press release. More info here

Update: 1:31 p.m.  Mayor London Breed has announced a stay-at-home order that will go into effect as of midnight tonight.

The announcement included these guidelines:

What can I do? What’s open?

These essential services will remain open:

  • City/County government services: Police stations, fire stations, hospitals/clinics and healthcare operations, jails, courts, garbage/sanitation, transportation (including Muni), utilities (water, power and gas), and city offices
  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
  • Hardware stores/plumbers
  • Banks
  • Community benefit organizations on a case-by-case basis
  • Laundromats/laundry services

What’s closed?

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Entertainment venues
  • Gyms and fitness studios

What can’t I do?

You cannot engage in group activities in person with others.

You cannot have dinner parties. You cannot invite friends over to your home to hang out.

You cannot go to bars or nightclubs.

You cannot go to a nail salon or get your hair cut by a stylist or barber.

You cannot go shopping for non-essential goods.

You cannot take unnecessary trips on public transport or in your car or motorbike.

Again, here are the go-to public health sites for checking San Francisco and state updates:

Some useful links: San Francisco Public Health Department’s site on the virus.

The California Department of Health’s  Website. 

And here is a link from that main webpage to the state’s latest updates. 

More useful links;

From the Washington Post, which is not charging for this content: Mapping the Spread. And What you need to know. (UPDATED) The WP has added very good simulations showing Why outbreaks spread and how to flatten the curve.

Earlier coverage:

COVID-19: Mission District business dipped on Saturday night, and, by Sunday, Flour + Water Pizzeria and others had closed (update 3:19 p.m.), March 15

Covid Updates, Saturday, March 14, 2020En Español

Covid Updates from Friday, March 13, 2020

Parents react to news of school closures, March 12, 2020

And a reminder, your donations keep us at work. Thank you to all who support us. If you have not and you read Mission Local regularly, please do. 

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

Managing Editor/Columnist. Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left.

“Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior editor at San Francisco Magazine from 2015 to 2017. You may also have read his work in the Guardian (U.S. and U.K.); San Francisco Public Press; San Francisco Chronicle; San Francisco Examiner; Dallas Morning News; and elsewhere.

He resides in the Excelsior with his wife and three (!) kids, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

The Northern California branch of the Society of Professional Journalists named Eskenazi the 2019 Journalist of the Year.

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  1. Hello. Noting that Boys & Girls Clubs are open as of today, with the exception of the Tenderloin Clubhouse, at limited capacity. For more information, please go to Please correct the article when you can!