San Francisco

Pop-Up Food Pantries Face Challenges Staying Open in San Francisco

NBC Universal, Inc.

A series of pop-up food pantries in San Francisco have become critically important for residents worried about where their next meal will come from during the pandemic.

But as pandemic emergency orders expire, some of those spots may be forced to close.

Special permits that allows food banks to distribute at city parks will expire in May due to the end of the state and city's emergency pandemic orders, according to the San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks.

Three pop-up food pantries located within the city's recreation and parks properties collectively serve about 2,500 families a week, according to San Francisco-Marin Food Bank figures.

Supervisor Connie Chan said she has been trying to broker a deal between the food bank and recreation and park department to keep the pop-up sites open.

"If you can have food trucks in Golden Gate Park, you certainly can have a pop-up food pantry for the most vulnerable in our neighborhood," Chan said.

Adding to the concern for the city's most vulnerable, Chan said the state's Cal-Fresh pandemic benefits will also soon be reduced as federal funds dry up.

The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank said it is hoping to work out an agreement with the recreation and parks department.

A recreation and parks spokesperson said they met with the food bank on Tuesday to provide guidance on other possibilities.

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