On an unusually warm and brilliant weekend holiday Saturday, crowds gathered in the Oracle Park parking lot might be expected to be there for the pre-game tailgate before the Giants match.
Instead, they were there to take food bags. San Francisco-Marin Food Bank organizing Mission Bay’s first walk-up, food pantry in the shadows where pop-ups usually mean something else.
Those who walked to the pantry printed large plastic bags containing food, including pork, a piece of bread, potatoes, onions, lettuce heads and some apples and oranges.
“There is protein and vegetables and fruits – enough to feed a family of four,” said Gabriela Piña from San Francisco, who volunteered to help share food with her son, Jean-Luc Desnoyers-Piña.
When the kitchen opened at 9 am, almost 100 people lined up. Large numbers of people who need or want food enter the parking lot, some arrive by car, others walk or use a wheelchair.
“Every time we open a pop-up kitchen in San Francisco, the number of people who appear continues to grow,” said Tina Gonzales, director of community partnerships for the food bank. “Every week there are more people who lose their jobs and have children at home. There are many people in San Francisco who need food. Many people only survive now. “
So many people showed up in both canopies in the Giants parking lot that the kitchen ran out of 600 food bags around 12:20 p.m., 40 minutes before the scheduled closing time. A drop of the car kept going, with people parking and walking to the table, only to be refused.
Maria Cagang, who is in her 20s and lives in the Mission, arrived just in time to get one of the last food bags for her family of five.
“I am very happy,” he said as he brought the items to the car full of relatives. “This will help us a lot. I am very grateful. “
Cagang says he visits his mother, who tells him about the new pop-up kitchen. They immediately jumped into the car and went to the parking lot, arriving just in time. His mother gave her own food bag to a family who left right after the supplies ran out.
As they left, a speaker in the parking lot played Tony Bennett singing “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
The Bay Area food bank feeds a number of people as a coronavirus outbreak and extended residence orders cause job losses, leaving many people without resources to feed themselves or their families.
The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank serves twice as many people as before the pandemic, many of them in 25 pop-up kitchens that have been set up in two countries. Across the bay outside another baseball stadium, the Oakland Coliseum, Alameda Regional Community Food Bank has set up a pantry that serves about 1,000 families a day.
The Oracle Park Pantry pop-up is the first in the Mission Bay neighborhood, a place that is often seen by people as an area inhabited only by wealthy condominium residents, Gonzales said.
“But no,” he said, pointing to veterans and low-income housing nearby. “We have many neighbors who bring neighbors, some even push their neighbors in a wheelchair. You know you’re in the right place when neighbors bring neighbors to make sure they get food. “
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