In the three weeks that the San Francisco Unified School District has been distributing free meals at 18 sites, the numbers have doubled week to week — with the district providing nearly 85,000 meals this week.
The meal program was initiated on April 17. In its first week, operating out of fewer schools, the district distributed 20,000 meals. In the second week, it provided 40,000, according to SFUSD’s Student Nutrition Services department.
The sharp increase to 85,000 this week came despite a change from a daily schedule to two days a week, and as three schools were dropped as delivery sites – Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School, Galileo Academy of Science & Technology, and Francisco Middle School – due to low participation.
At all but one of the remaining 17 sites, including two sites in the Mission District — Cesar Chavez Elementary School and Mission High School — the deliveries are on Mondays and Wednesdays between 11 a.m. and noon. Residents can now pick up five days’ worth of meals in two trips and avoid multiple voyages out of the house during the shelter-in-place order.
Each bag includes meals for multiple days, such as cereal and muffins for breakfast; sandwiches and pupusas for lunch; pizza and burritos for supper; fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, and any necessary preparation guides,” according to a memo signed by Student Nutrition Services and posted on the district’s website.
At Ship Shape Community Center on Treasure Island, food deliveries will be Tuesdays and Fridays between 10:30 and 11:30 am.
Adults can now pick up free meals for their children without having the children present. There is no required identification or proof of school enrollment to be able to get food.
Student Nutrition Services isn’t the only agency seeing an increase in demand.
“We see the same trend in all of our [pop-up] pantries,” said Gunilla Bergensten, director of marketing and communications at SF Marin Food Bank.
At Mission High School, where a pop-up food pantry distributes food every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the demand grew from 501 food bags in first week to to 880 food bags in the third.
“Logistically, it’s a challenge,” said Bergensten. “We are seeing that a lot of people need help right now, so we know that we have to come up with ways to serve more people.”
The pantry at Cesar Chavez Elementary School is open on Tuesdays, while another pantry is open at Francisco Middle School every Thursday. Thirteen more schools offer weekly pop pantries at different days and all are open between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Visit this link for an updated list of distribution locations and other resources. Student Nutrition Services also updates their website, while SF Marin Food Bank’s pop up pantry schedules can be found here under “Weekly Groceries.”