You could keep the doctor away for 300 years with all those apples. 40,000 pounds of green apples, trucked into the Bay Area. that’s over 100,000 apples. and yet they were all given away and eaten within a few days, after arriving at the SF-Marin Food Bank, which serves more than enough hungry people to eat them all.
One in four people in San Francisco and Marin counties are food-insecure. “It’s hard to believe,” says Mark Seelig, “that so many people go hungry in two of the richest counties in America.” and yet it’s true: As a result, the Food Bank has been very busy the past several years, establishing a network of neighborhood pantries that is 250 locations strong, serving over 225,000 people in the past year.
Mark runs public relations at the food bank. He describes, with infectious enthusiasm, the smiles that spread on faces of participants of all ages when they see the apples and other produce at their local pantries. The food gives people visible and beautiful relief and gratitude.
Those smiles make all the crazy office work worthwhile, for Mark. The word ‘busy’ understates the atmosphere at the food bank, which has just launched a beautiful new website, advocated in support of voter initiatives to improve public health and food access, and recently helped 1,600 people sign up for CalFresh benefits. all of this in a warehouse that was designed to receive and distribute 25 million pounds of food per year, and now handles over 50 million pounds.
60% of all that food is fresh produce. how do they obtain so much produce? In true, innovative San Francisco spirit, Mark tells me, the founders of the food bank began to collaborate with farmers and orchardists in the fertile Central Valley decades ago. They were the first food bank in the nation to work directly and consistently with farmers, who grow tons and tons of imperfect produce each year — oversize potatoes, curvy carrots, knobby nuts — that they can’t sell retail, even though it’s all perfectly delicious and nutritious.
The food bank directs produce that would otherwise be wasted to those who need it most. At glassybaby, where we celebrate our perfectly-imperfect “seconds,” we love that idea. Like every glassybaby deserves to glow, every fresh vegetable and fruit deserves to be eaten.
And every human deserves to eat, especially when so many of us are so lucky. We are donating 10% of all November sales from our Union Street store in San Francisco to the SF-Marin Food Bank, which will help thousands of people eat this Fall.
I asked Mark how else people could most effectively help the food bank. “the most pressing need is more food pantry space distributed around the two counties,” he says, “so if you know of a potential place for a food pantry, let us know.” donations of food and money go a long way, too, as does volunteer work, which you can sign up for here.
glassybaby is donating to several different regional food banks during the month of November. Stay tuned during the next several weeks to learn about the green apples and more that we help these food banks give.