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This year's turkey giveaway is especially important for San Francisco's most vulnerable residents. Prior to COVID-19, one in four San Francisco residents were at risk of hunger due to low income. COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted these families even further. The City's unemployment rate is at an estimated 8.4%, with more than 200,000 San Franciscans applying for unemployment. While public schools, food banks, and state and local food security programs continue to provide food assistance for extremely low-income households, many families in public housing or underserved communities that have experienced a reduction in income and are struggling to make ends meet. The turkeys and packages of dry goods are providing some much-needed food security for the Thanksgiving holiday.
"This has been a hard year, and it's more important than ever before that we give back to our communities, especially those who are most in need," said Mayor Breed. "Thanks to the generous contributions of our donors, we're able to continue this program during COVID-19 to help families enjoy Thanksgiving and the holiday season safely at home. If you're looking for a way to help your neighbors in need, you can volunteer or donate to support San Francisco community organizations that provide people food during the holidays and year-round."
This year's turkey giveaway is a collaboration between the Mayor's Office, the San Francisco Human Services Agency, the San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA), the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, the San Francisco Police Department, the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD), and HOPE SF. The turkeys were provided by the City with the generous support of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute of San Francisco via contributions to the City's Give2SF Fund. Additionally, Whole Foods supported the giveaway with in-kind donation of 200 turkeys. Give2SF is currently accepting donations and funds provide shelter, food, and other assistance to individuals, families, small businesses, and nonprofits in San Francisco.
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"The Mayor's turkey giveaway helps our communities most in need to share the abundance of joy and gratitude on Thanksgiving with a warm, nutritious meal. This annual tradition comes during a time when the need for hunger relief is greater than ever," said Trent Rhorer, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency. "The fight to end hunger in our communities will last beyond this holiday season. Anyone struggling to afford food is encouraged to call 311 to find assistance. San Francisco's pandemic emergency response services have provided millions of additional meals to help families through this incredibly challenging time. Please join us in giving back where you can to support our neighbors facing hardships from COVID-19."
Due to COVID-19, the turkey deliveries were offered as part of existing food distribution efforts and there will not be giveaway events as in past years. Instead, SFHA and MOHCD helped distribute the turkeys. SFHA and MOCHD have been coordinating food to approximately 3,200 families living at their housing sites since the Stay Home Order took effect in March 2020. Staff members been follow all COVID-19 safety protocols, and cleanliness and sanitation requirements.
"Food security is an important facet of all our lives, which cannot be ignored regardless of the season," said Tonia Lediju, Acting Executive Director and Transition Lead, San Francisco Housing Authority. "The opportunity to care for others by showing our concern through meeting a fundamental need anytime is both an honor for SFHA and a necessity to uplift the individuals and families served in our great City. Being a partner in this effort is personally gratifying. It is an extension of who I am and who I was raised to be."
The A. Phillip Randolph Institute (APRI), a local nonprofit organization, identifies families in need and helps to distribute the turkeys. The deliveries took place between Wednesday, November 18 and Monday, November 23, and the turkeys were handed out to families at public housing sites in San Francisco in time for Thanksgiving.
"The holidays are a time to reflect on what we are thankful for and a perfect time to share compassion with our neighbors," said Jackie Flin, Executive Director of APRI. "We want our community to know that we care about them, not just by our words, but also through our actions. It is an incredible privilege to serve the residents of San Francisco, and we look forward to continuing to making a difference in our community."
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"Whole Foods Market is proud to continue our commitment to helping the community become more food secure through our partnership with the city and the Mayor's Turkey Giveaway," said Omar Gaye, Whole Foods Market President of the Northern California Region. "It is both inspiring and a privilege to be involved in this annual tradition that brings the city and partner organizations together in such an impactful way to support families in need through access to nourishing food during the holiday season."
Last week, Mayor Breed launched the We Will Recover campaign to promote individual actions San Franciscans can take to support San Francisco's recovery from COVID-19. We Will Recover focuses on three ways people can do their part this holiday season: Holidays at Home, Shop and Dine in the 49, and Help Your Neighbors in Need.
Help your Neighbors in Need features San Francisco-based volunteering opportunities focused on food security and anti-isolation efforts during the holidays and into the new year. The site lists a range of volunteer opportunities with non-profit organizations that are working to provide food access and anti-isolation support to San Francisco residents. Help Your Neighbors in Need offers both in-person and virtual volunteer options. For those who prefer to donate to philanthropic efforts, the site offers San Francisco based giving campaigns that support San Francisco non-profit organizations, including the City's Give2SF Fund. For more information, visit: sf.gov/helpyourneighbors.
San Franciscans who are need assistance getting or affording food should call 311 or visit sf.gov/get-food-resources.
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