Food Providers Pivot to Meet COVID-19 Challenge

On March 16, the California Department of Public Health designated charitable food organizations as essential service providers during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s a good thing, too. With over a million Californians filing for unemployment benefits over the past few weeks it is highly likely people will need the resources more than ever.

But, wary of spreading the coronavirus to sometimes-elderly guests, a few Marin County food providers are implementing new techniques to share food.

Here are two of those organizations. If we missed any, comment below and we’ll add them to the list.

San Francisco–Marin Food Bank

This Saturday, March 28, the San Francisco–Marin Food Bank will introduce its first drive-thru food pantry in San Rafael. The new option will supplement the Food Bank’s other recurring events in Marin County.

The idea, which is meant to protect recipients and food bank workers, is simple—and fitting in an era where crucial coronavirus tests are also administered in drive-thru fashion. 

Attendees of the drive-thru will enter the warehouse, pop the trunk of their car, receive a mixture of food and drive away. 

The Food Bank expects to continue offering the drive-thru pantry for the foreseeable future, a spokesperson says.

The drive-thru will be held on Saturday, March 28, between 10am and 2pm at 2550 Kerner Blvd. in San Rafael. Participants should enter the warehouse via Glacier Point.

Anyone who is struggling to buy food is welcome to attend, no sign-up required.

The food bank is offering popup food banks at two other locations: 

Bayside MLK Academy, 200 Phillips Dr., Sausalito on Wednesday from 10:30am to 12:30pm, 

and

San Geronimo Valley Community Center, 6350 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Geronimo on Thursdays from noon to 2pm.

For other local options for free food, check the San Francisco–Marin Food Bank’s online Food Locator.

Rollin’ Root Offers Seniors Discounted Produce

Begun long before the arrival of COVID-19, the Rollin’ Root mobile farmers market program is being adjusted to serve an increased number of homebound seniors. 

The program is managed by the Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM) and funded by the Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative.

Each week, Rollin’ Root will serve eight senior housing complexes. Until March 30, seniors will receive a 50 percent discount on their produce purchases when they use CalFresh. 

In the age of coronavirus, the team running the program has added additional Rollin’ Root stops and seeks additional volunteers. 

“If a senior is sick or too high risk to go shopping at the market they can get a representative to bring back the vegetables,” says a Rollin’ Root press release.

Rollin’ Root market drop-sites for Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday include housing facilities in San Rafael, San Geronimo, Marin City, Fairfax, Novato, Mill Valley, Pt. Reyes Station, Tomales and Fairfax. 

For a complete list of sites and times visit www.interfaithfood.org/resources or call 707.634.4672.

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Will Carruthers
Will is a news reporter for the Pacific Sun and North Bay Bohemian.
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