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San Francisco Food Bank

Food Bank that provides food to Bay Area soup kitchens to feed the needy.

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Great Way to Spend An Evening and Give Back to Those in Need

  • Dec 15, 2011
When I had first heard of the Gilt City offer to volunteer at the Food Bank, I have to admit I was hesitant. I had never heard of having to pay to volunteer but, I had already agreed to do it. You should know that the Food Bank doesn't charge you, Gilt City charged us to cover their own costs (they state that 10% from 11/16-11/24 will be donated, so I do have a problem with the charge). But, onto the Food Bank experience.

We showed up at 6p and attended a brief orientation. The warehouse that houses the Food Bank is huge and located at 900 Pennsylvania. It looked like a big Cosco with boxes of food and bags of onions, all incredibly well organized. Five volunteers were picked to haul and pack up the packed boxes, if I recall correctly.

                                                                             Our group packing pasta

We then entered our workspace. A big room with five metal cooking tables, a locker for your private stuff, a shelving unit to hold heat sealers, gloves and other necessities. We lined up for our instruction and then, paired off in groups of six to start our work which was to weigh, bag, seal and label pasta. Each person did each job. We were lucky to be paired with two cool couples that kept the job at hand quick, fun and easy. I weighed the pasta and bagged the pasta then, went back to weighing since I was a bit slow at bagging. Fernando bagged and sealed the pasta. We set up our table like this: two weighers, two baggers, one sealer, one labeler and it worked really well.

If you want to do your part, sign up for whichever shift works for you (there's three- morning, afternoon and evening, each 2 hours) on their website.There is no season for hunger and you can sign up for a recurring shift, if you like and there's also an area where you can sign up groups. At the end of the night which was a 2 hour shift, we (including @ and in the name of Lunch.com) prepped 2,240 pounds of pasta to be packed onto trucks and shipped throughout the Bay Area to feed the area's hungry. Not bad for one evening.

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March 20, 2012
Great stuff!
April 08, 2012
January 04, 2012
I used to volunteer for a shelter in Chicago. I soured on the idea pretty quickly, though, because giving out and preparing food just began coming across as hollow. It's one thing to give handouts, but I was really hoping to a chance to help people get back on their feet. Or perhaps prevent the whole situation.
January 06, 2012
Yeah, that's the problem when you work on the preparing foods part of the equation. You don't get a chance to really connect with someone like you do in say a Habitat for Humanities situation or a Crisis hotline. There are organizations out there that will train you to help prevent the situation or to help people get on their feet. Look for shelters or organizations that provide job/housing/education assistance. Those will let you be a part of the solution and you can provide any skills you have to help people get on their feet. I plan to work closely as a Crisis Counselor for the Domestic Violence Hotline. When I had done it before, I was able to actually save a few lives and that was amazing. Of course, I had to pick them up in the middle of the night with only backpacks in the hood and make sure they had fake names and were safe for the night in a hotel room we provided but, it worked. So, keep an eye out for those and you'll find what you're looking for. If you need help looking, I can see what I can find in your area...do you live in Chicago?
January 09, 2012
No. I lived in Chicago for five years, but was forced back to my hometown of Buffalo when the economy crash took its ultimate toll on my life last year.

It's good to see that you're up to things like this and the crisis center. You just moved up a few notches on my cool list. I've done Habitat for Humanity and I tried to join Americorps, but could never send the application out because I couldn't figure out where my strengths were.
January 11, 2012
Thanks! I always have a hard time answering stuff like that because it's so subjective and usually they find strengths that I never considered strengths. I think you'd be safe just saying what you do best...and remember, especially with Americorps, anything can be used to help others. Also, though, don't they have a time commitment of 2 years or am I tripping? I think that's a great thing to get involved with!
January 04, 2012
I used to volunteer here with friends and at "Make a Wish" every now and then. I think it is time for me to get back to it. Happy New Year!
January 06, 2012
It's a great way to help out and it's easy. I think I may get more into Glide since you get to actually feed the homeless and make a connection. I'm also going to get back into being a Crisis Counselor for the Domestic Violence Hotline- it's so rewarding to give back to those that need help. I think you should def get back to it, they can use all the help they can get!
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We collect millions of pounds of food from growers, packers, processors, manufacturers, the USDA and grocery stores. This can include test-marketed products, items close to code date, produce that is the wrong shape or size for conventional markets and excess. Food drives are an important source of variety.





We truck donated food to our warehouse. Multiple tractor trailer loads of produce come in through the week – these precious, highly perishable items get moved through our warehouse within 24 hours.





Volunteers sort, repack and shelve almost ...

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