SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The city of San Francisco is working to support people who are in quarantine due to the novel coronavirus but can’t access groceries through a variety of programs, Mayor London Breed announced Monday.

To help those recovering in their homes from COVID-19 and can’t rely on friends or family for food, the city has established a call center at the Emergency Operation Center. With a referral from a health provider, callers can get an assessment of their household’s food needs by a social worker and then get connected with grocery deliveries, as well as prepared meals for people who don’t have access to a kitchen.

“Many San Franciscans are in isolation in order to protect public health, and not everyone has family or friends in the area who can help them get the food they need,” Breed said in a statement.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

“We want people to be able to focus on their health and safety during this time—not worrying about if and how they are going to eat. We also know that COVID-19 is already having a serious financial impact on many of our residents, and people who were struggling to afford food and other basic needs before the crisis now face even bigger challenges. These food resources are an important part of our emergency response and will help people know where they’re getting their next meal,” she said.

Additionally, Mayor Breed announced $1 million of the Give2SF fund, the city’s COVID-19 response and recovery donation fund, will be donated to the city’s existing food security programs.

With an unprecedented amount of people out of work nationwide, city health officials expect the number of people who can’t afford healthy meals to increase. Additionally, the city’s food partners have already reported a rise in demand for food.

In response the city will deploy about 70 city librarians who have been trained as disaster service workers to work at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank’s “pop-up pantry” program, providing groceries to families in need.

Other city efforts to help people access food include a new website, at https://sf.gov/get-food-resources.

“The dramatic increase in lost wages as a result of staying home to protect the community’s public health means that there are significantly more people in need of our help,” Paul Ash, executive director of the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, said.

“As an essential service, it is critical that we are able to continue the job of making sure vulnerable neighbors get the food they need.  Partnering with San Francisco to deploy disaster service workers has allowed us to continue and expand our mission,” Ash said.

 

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