SAN FRANCISCO – Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) announced that he obtained $2 million in the State’s budget for Mission Food Hub and Meals on Wheels San Francisco, along with funding and changes in the law to revamp the Calfresh application process to make it easier and more accessible for seniors and those with disabilities. Representatives from both Mission Food Hub and Meals on Wheels San Francisco joined Senator Wiener to reiterate the importance of these investments and the continuing community need for food access. As the effects of the pandemic linger — making a longstanding food insecurity problem even worse — food security programs remain a necessity for a large number of residents in our community.
—The $1 million Senator Wiener obtained for Mission Food Hub will provide the organization additional months of runway to continue feeding families affected by COVID-19. Founded in May 2020, the hub has grown from feeding 500 families at the outset of the pandemic to more than 7,000 families today. The organization estimates over 12,000 Latinx residents are unemployed due to the pandemic. Its contribution to the Mission community is critical to keeping families out of hunger.
—The $1 million Senator Wiener obtained for Meals on Wheels San Francisco will fund a critical backup generator at MOWSF’s new, massive kitchen facility in the Bayview. With the new generator, the facility will be able to continue running unimpeded, even in the event of a natural disaster. The kitchen currently produces over 30,000 meals per day for homebound seniors.
—Senator Wiener also authored SB 107 in January to expand access to CalFresh food benefits for seniors and those with disabilities, by shortening the 18-page application and creating the ability to apply for CalFresh over the phone. Senator Wiener’s legislation was incorporated into and passed as part of the budget. Currently, only 19% of eligible older adults are actually served by CalFresh. Additionally, California ranks last in the country in terms of eligible seniors who are actually signed up to access food assistance benefits. These application changes will make the program much more accessible to those who need it.
“Food insecurity was a major problem in San Francisco before the pandemic, and the past year has made a bad situation even worse,” said Senator Wiener. “Making sure every member of our community has access to nutritious food will always be a top priority for me, and I’m thrilled we were able to obtain these life-saving investments in our state budget. Additionally, SB 107’s incorporation into the budget is a victory for food security statewide. Calfresh application reform is long overdue, and seniors and people with disabilities will finally have greater access to the food benefits to which they’re entitled.”
“When I started the Mission Food Hub last year, I never imagined we would expand to serve thousands of Latino families each week and become a cornerstone of this community,” said Roberto Hernandez, Founder of Mission Food Hub. “But here we are, 14 months later, and we will be here as long as the community needs us. Senator Wiener’s advocacy on our behalf means so much to our organization, and I look forward to continuing to work with him to finally end hunger in the Mission.”
“We are forever grateful to Senator Wiener for his work in paving the way for the funding needed to purchase a backup generator we needed for our newly opened industrial kitchen and food distribution center in San Francisco,” said Ashley McCumber, CEO and Executive Director of Meals on Wheels San Francisco. “Knowing that our kitchen operations in the Bayview will continue uninterrupted should there be a break in power service is a huge relief. As we saw during the pandemic, hunger does not stop just because there’s an emergency – there are thousands of older adults who rely on our meals daily and for many, our services are the difference between being able to live in their homes with independence or experiencing failing health due to poor diets and having to go into nursing care or other type of environment.”