For the second year in a row, the San Francisco Food Bank, which represents San Francisco and Marin counties, has lost out on federal funding, which could have helped to  provide hundreds of thousands of meals to those in need.

Paul Ash, Executive Director of the San Francisco Food Bank, said the loss of $161,000 in federal funding is a huge blow, especially as they come up on the busiest time of the year.

“It was a surprise. I wouldn’t say it was shocking after last year,” he said. “I think one of the hardest things is to try to plan ahead with this lingering over us.”

Ash said that despite an up-and-down last few years economically, the San Francisco Food Bank has actually expanded service over the last three years. “In fact, we’ve had extreme growth in terms of need over the last few years. But that has seemed to stabilize over the last eight months,” Ash said. “But that just means it has remained flat at a very high level and poverty continues to grow.”

Because of a lack of funding from federal programs, Ash said they are going back to past donors to see if they can replace the money that they had earmarked from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “It’s a tough task at hand because along with the need for food growing during this time of the year, with the holidays coming up, this is also our busiest time of the year from an administrative perspective. We do most of our fundraising during these last few months. Plus, with so many holiday food drives occurring, we have to coordinate with those volunteers,” Ash said. “We also try to make special meals during the holidays to help those that are in need.”

Ash said that while he was a bit dumbfounded by the announcement from federal officials, he is upbeat and the non-profit is working hard to secure donations from past donors, and new ones as well in order to make up for the loss.

He said that for anyone interested in donating, the monthly giving program is a good way to get started. And those interested and able to donate larger sums of money should visit a charity or non-profit in person, whether it’s the SF Food Bank or another organization, and get behind the mission.



Photo Credit: San Francisco Food Bank