SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Mayor London Breed revealed Friday that San Francisco has been using $1.65 million from the city’s soda tax revenue to help individuals and families who are struggling to buy food after suffering financial setbacks due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Breed was joined by San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton and Chair of California State Board of Equalization Malia Cohen in making the announcement.

“COVID-19 has made it really challenging for some of our most vulnerable communities to access food, whether due to loss of income, longer lines at the stores, closing of dining rooms, or other disruptions to normal routine,” Breed said in a release. “This funding will support programs and community organizations that are doing the hard work, day in and day out, to feed San Franciscans.”

The use of the soda tax funding began in early May and will be used by the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market to purchase produce and shelf-stable foods for community groups that are distributing meals to their members, including the Bayview Senior Center and the San Francisco African American Faith Based Coalition, among others.

“As we are fighting to feed families and fight hunger during this pandemic, we are happy that we have funds available from the sugary beverage tax, which was always intended to address the gaps that exist in our most vulnerable communities and make sure people have healthy meals,” Walton said.

The funds will also support the San Francisco Unified School District’s efforts to continue providing meals to students.

“We know food insecurity contributes to poor health outcomes,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health. “This funding cannot be coming at a better time to help reduce the risk of hunger and support healthy food choices for our San Francisco communities most in need during these unprecedented times.”

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