Charity Profile: San Francisco-Marin Food Bank
Every year, many San Francisco area participating bars select the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank as their Negroni Week charity. We spoke with Food Bank Community Engagement Director Katy McKnight about what support from the local bartending community means to their organization and the work that they do.
Imbibe: Tell us about the work the SF-Marin Food Bank does in the Bay Area community.
Katy McKnight: People are often surprised to hear that 1 in 4 people in San Francisco and Marin is struggling to make ends meet, and that hunger affects all types of households in our community. We’re serving working families who need some assistance getting healthy food on the dinner table every night of the week, seniors who are living on a fixed income as the cost of living gets higher, kids who need a mid-morning snack during the school day, and disabled individuals who may not know where their next meal is coming from. When these basic needs are met, there’s less stress, easier learning in the classroom and ability to focus on one’s life goals. We work with a variety of programs throughout San Francisco and Marin: meal programs, food pantries and snack programs for kids. One of the biggest issues we address is that when money is tight, food is often the first budget item to be scaled back. Many people skip meals to ensure that their rent is paid, or that they can afford their medicines. Our pantries help reduce this stress by providing a good selection of supplemental groceries that help households make ends meet.
Imbibe: How can people get involved in your cause? What’s the best way for people to help fight hunger in their own communities?
KM: 1. Donate money: For every dollar donation, we can distribute $5 worth of food—we stretch our budget with food donations, bulk purchases and the help of over 40,000 volunteers each year. 2. Volunteer: Much of the food we get into the warehouse is in bulk form, whether it be donated or purchased. We rely on thousands of volunteers each month to help us sort and re-pack this food to be distributed to the community – usually within a day or two. Last year, volunteers provided more than 140,000 hours of support—the equivalent of 69 full-time staff!
Imbibe: How did you find out about Negroni Week? Did you know that so many bars in the SF area would be supporting you this year?
KM: Campari America has been a wonderful supporter of the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank and let us know about the event a few years back. We have been on board ever since, and count this as one of the best events that we partner with each year. We cannot say enough about the bars and restaurants who choose to send their Negroni donations to us. They should know that not only does the food bank appreciate the help, our participants count events like these as life-savers. Thank you for making this community a little healthier through a fun event like Negroni Week!
Imbibe: Where will you be imbibing during Negroni Week this year?
KM: There are so many great bars participating in Negroni Week that are supporting the Food Bank that it will be too hard to just choose one. It is a good thing we have a week to do it and some dedicated staff who enjoy the thirst-quenching taste of a Negroni to boot!