SF-Marin Food Bank to Phase Out Pandemic Response Programs as Funding Dwindle, Shifts Focus to Traditional Pantry Network

SF-Marin Food Bank to Phase Out Pandemic Response Programs as Funding Dwindle, Shifts Focus to Traditional Pantry NetworkSource: San Francisco-Marin Food Bank
Tony Ng
Published on October 19, 2023

The SF-Marin Food Bank has stated its intentions to discontinue its COVID-19 pandemic response programs due to the cessation of federal, state, and local funding. Over the coming two years, emergency Pop-Up Pantries will be phased out as the organization returns to distributing food through its network of community pantries, per the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank news.

Tanis Crosby, the Food Bank's Executive Director, cautioned that the Pop-Up Pantries will not be closed instantly. Instead, the organization will transition its participants back to the traditional pantry network in a gradual manner, while also reopening pantries that were shut during the pandemic.

Despite the reimaging of operation, the Food Bank expects to serve about 20% more households per week by June 2025. However, where there is an increased need, there is also an expected longer waiting time to access the services. As federal support for anti-hunger programs declines, the Food Bank needs, to move towards new strategies to combat food insecurity.

With the end of specific pandemic services, the Food Bank's staff numbers will also reflect this shift. Expected over the next two years is a reduction from 253 to fewer than 200 employees, which will occur through attrition, early retirements, and layoffs. The organization has confirmed it will provide severance and career support packages to assist future employment endeavors of the affected staff.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed commended the SF-Marin Food Bank for its extraordinary pandemic response. He acknowledged the Food Bank's ongoing cooperation in catalyzing creative food access initiatives and forming strong partnerships with local governments, even as funding scenarios evolve in the post-pandemic era.