Food banks need cash to help those who need meals during coronavirus outbreak

Volunteers at the San Francisco Marin Food Bank are trying to be safe while also keeping their distance in the new COVID-19 era, a time when people power is low and demand for nutritious meals are up. 

"It's really hard for us to tell which clients are coming from another pantry and which are new to the system, but we are seeing more people than we've seen before," said Paul Ash, the food bank's executive director.

The food bank serves one out of every five familes in San Francisco and Marin counties, that's 110,000 meals a day.  Much of that was allocated through the schools, but all 45 of their school pantries are now closed because of the shelter-in-place orders.

And that's a problem. 

"We've had to find out other ways to serve people and the school was such an easy way for a parent to drop of a child and pickup food," Ash said. "It's hard to replicate that."

Schools have given way to pop-up pantries and drive-through giveaways.  And volunteers are coming out to help, despite the health dangers. 

"Am I more of service to my community by staying home or since I am younger and live alone should I be volunteering?" asked Currie Geffken. "We can still support our community with some action."

Across the bay at the Alameda County Food Bank, they are receiving more than 300 calls a day for help.  They serve one in five countywide, and while their warehouse is still stocked with food, the coronavirus could wipe that out.  So cash donations are vital.

"Every dollar donated enables us to leverage $7 worth of critical food for the growing hunger in our community," said spokesman Alex Boskovich. 

While people might want to give cans of food, food bank officials said that money is the easiest way to accept donations. To learn more, click here.