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SF-Marin Food Bank hits capacity, expansion aims to increase meal service by half

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The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is about to begin a major expansion of its Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters building in San Francisco, and a renovation of its newly acquired warehouse and office space in San Rafael, to prepare for increasing its food-provision capability 50 percent by 2040.

The project in San Francisco will add an additional 28,000 square feet of warehouse space and two new loading docks to the food bank. Work is set to begin in 2020 and finish in summer 2021.

Renovations at the San Rafael facility at 2250 Kerner Blvd., acquired in March, will start much sooner, likely sometime in May, food bank officials said. That work will be renovation of the existing 38,000-square-foot building space to better host volunteers and create a more efficient workflow. That renovation should be finished by September. The San Rafael building is approximately three times the size of the building the food bank has been leasing in Novato to serve Marin County.

Food bank officials say both the San Francisco and Marin facilities have reached capacity. And a new report, “Missing Meals in San Francisco and Marin,” compiled by two Columbia University researchers and an independent consultant, shows the number of meals missed by low-income residents in San Francisco and Marin – those living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level – stood at just over 35 million in 2017, the most recent year for which data exists.

That is down from a high of 62 million missing meals in 2013, and down from 43 million missing meals in 2016.

“We’re encouraged by the growth in nonprofit meals provided, meaning the food bank and our network of partners are making a difference in the community,” said Paul Ash, executive director of the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. “But the fact of the matter is that 35 million missing meals is 35 million too many.”

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