San Francisco

SF's soup kitchens adapt to crisis with new measures

For San Franciscans with the means to shop at regular grocery stores, the shelter-in-place order has triggered a spike in demand that gives the appearance of scarcity or shortage.

But the city's soup kitchens are still up and operating, with no sign of slowing down — welcome news at a time when many city residents may be facing unemployment. 

Some have restricted hours or switched to pickup-only service under the shutdown, but none have seen an unmanageable rise in traffic.

We spoke with some soup kitchens around the city to check on their current offerings, and how they're handling new health restrictions. (Keep in mind that these offerings are subject to change, given the still-unfolding situation.)

Meals for adults

Martin de Porres House of Hospitality (225 Potrero Ave.)

Open Tuesday through Saturday, noon - 2 p.m. for bagged lunch handout, and Sunday and Monday at 9 a.m. for breakfast.

An employee said Martin de Porres had changed hours of operation several times over the past weeks, as new health mandates came down from the government. 

They've closed their hall to seated diners; as of right now, "we're handing out sacked meals, placing them on the table and just letting people take them away" to reduce contact, the employee said. There's a sanitizer station at the entrance. 

The employee said they're seeing roughly the same number of clients as before the shutdown.

St. Anthony Foundation (121 Golden Gate Ave.)

Open seven days a week, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. or as supplies last.

Via email, St. Anthony communications lead Samantha Kahn Rhodes said that the organization has closed its dining room to eat-in guests and discontinued its volunteer program during the shelter-in-place. Instead, she said, they're handing out hot bagged lunches from the curb.

GLIDE SF (330 Ellis St.)

Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. for seniors and adults with disabilities and 8:30 a.m. for the general public, seven days a week. Lunches Monday - Friday at noon; dinners Monday - Friday, 4 p.m.; to-go bags weekends after breakfast.

GLIDE recently announced an updated calendar for its offerings during COVID-19 closures. Although many of its other programs and congregations are on hold through the end of April or indefinitely, meal service continues seven days a week.

Project Open Hand (730 Polk St.)

Frozen meal packs distributed daily, 1 - 4 p.m.

Starting next Monday, March 23, Project Open Hand is handing out a week's worth of frozen prepared meals at a time to its clients, to help reduce person-to-person contact.

In a press release, Project Open Hand said their volunteer staff has dropped by two-thirds, as many are either over 60 or need to telecommute for work. To help adjust, the nonprofit has closed five of its 16 community nutrition program sites.

The nonprofit is also weighing expanding its services to include individuals who have contracted COVID-19.

Meals for children and families

The SFUSD is offering free breakfast, lunch and dinner to families every weekday at schools across the city, regardless of enrollment status. A child must be present to pick up the takeout food, which is offered Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m.

All children in the city's emergency daycare system for health workers and low-income working families will be given three meals a day.

The Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco also announced this week it would provide limited, distanced programming in some clubhouses around the city, accompanied by free lunch for attendees.

330 Ellis Street

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