What You Can Do
Have you helped the hungry yet?
By Lynette Majer
Hunger is not specific to particular neighborhoods; as surprising as it seems, there are people right here in the Northside who have to choose between paying the rent and eating. With no regard for age, ethnicity, gender, family size, or employment status, hunger impedes its victims from leading healthy and productive lives.
Many of us are feeling the effects of the economy and may not be able to donate monetarily, so why not donate your time instead? Take advantage of this beautiful spring weather to get out and help those who don’t have food for a meal or friends and family to share it with. There are no requirements for any of these openings, just a warm smile, big heart, and a willingness to help others who are less fortunate. Children are welcome at all of these opportunities, but contact each organization directly for specific age requirements.
“No matter who you are, there is someone who cares” at Tenderloin Tessie’s Holiday Dinner for the homeless, disabled, elderly, and those who just don’t have a place to go. Volunteers are needed to help Tessie continue its 30-year-plus tradition of serving an average of 1,000 holiday meals in a welcoming, nonjudgmental environment that includes distributing gift bags with nonperishable food, personal care items, socks, and gloves. To help provide a hot meal and friendship to those in need at Tessie’s Easter Dinner at the First Unitarian Universalist Church (1187 Franklin Street), contact Michael Gagne, 415-584-3252, email@example.com.
Glide Memorial’s Free Meals Program serves over one million meals annually, three times daily to the City’s poor and homeless – and they couldn’t do it without the help of tens of thousands of volunteers. Help prepare sandwiches for lunch bags to distribute on Easter Sunday, or assist in serving a special Easter meal in the church’s dining room. The following shifts are available:
• Easter lunch bag prep: Saturday, April 11, 9–11 a.m.
• Easter Day breakfast: Sunday, April 12, 6:30–9:30 a.m.
• Easter Day lunch: Sunday, April 12, 11:45 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Volunteers for meal service are also needed daily throughout this and every month at the church (330 Ellis Street, 415-674-6080, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
The San Francisco Food Bank (900 Pennsylvania Avenue, 415-282-1900, www.sffoodbank.org) will distribute 33 million pounds of food to over 133,000 people this year. Join them in their mission to end hunger in San Francisco by helping to sort, package, and deliver the 300 tons of food that moves through their warehouse each week. The Food Bank can accommodate groups of volunteers as well, which is a perfect opportunity to gather together family and friends. They need food sorters seven days a week from 9 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. as well as every Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. The Food Bank has numerous ways you can help the hungry, so contact them to find out how you can get started today.
“There’s no greater feeling in the world than to bring food to someone who really needs it,” said Ruth Brinker, founder of Project Open Hand (730 Polk Street, 415-447-2300, www.openhand.org). The organization has been delivering daily meals and groceries to seniors and the critically ill and homebound since 1985, and has served as a model for over 100 organizations worldwide. In 2007, a daily average of over 2,000 meals were served and almost 200 grocery bags were delivered, so there are plenty of ways to volunteer year-round. There’s something you can do every day at Project Open Hand; here are some possibilities:
• Slice and dice, peel and chop, or assist with other food preparation/packaging in their kitchen; morning and afternoon shifts are available seven days a week, and evening shifts Monday through Friday.
• Serve meals or help set up the dining room at over a dozen senior lunch sites throughout the City with shifts available between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. seven days a week.
• Help at the grocery centers by filling grocery orders, breaking down bulk foods into smaller portions and packaging grocery bags for home delivery. Morning and afternoon shifts are available Tuesday through Saturday.
• Deliver meals or groceries– either by car or on foot. What a great outing for you and a friend! Pick any day of the week between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.
In the Haggadah it is written, "All who are hungry, let them come and eat!" The Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) and the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (JCCSF) welcomes your help providing Passover food bags to needy San Franciscans. Help stuff and deliver Seder Sacks filled with matzo, gefilte fish, macaroons, soup and other treats to homebound seniors, people with disabilities, recently arrived émigrés, and families in crisis. If you are unable to participate, consider donating just $18 to fill one bag. This small cash donation or the gift of your time will bring joy to those who might otherwise be unable to celebrate Passover. Help the JFCS and the JCCSF deliver to more people than ever this year by calling 415-449-3832 or visiting www.jfcs.org.
Show that you care. Take a few hours this week or even just this month to help end hunger in our neighborhood, in our city.