As Bay Area food banks scramble to meet increased demand for their services, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank has opened seven new pop-up pantries to fill a gap left by dozens of sites that have shut down due to the coronavirus and volunteer shortages.
The food bank has seen about 100 of its regular 275 food pantries close in the past few weeks as volunteers — often elderly themselves — are unable to show up to help keep the distribution sites running. The closures come as tens of thousands of Californians experience job losses and growing financial instability during the statewide shelter-at-home orders.
As the need for help swiftly rises, state, local and federal officials have jumped in to offer relief. This week, the Second Harvest Food Banks of Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz began to receive help from National Guard members ordered by Gov. Gavin Newsom to deploy to state food banks to help with distribution. And the California Association of Food Banks received $6 million in state funding to distribute prepackaged boxes of food to 51 food banks and partner organizations throughout the state.