San Francisco opens first free food store

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By KENNETH SCHRUPP | THE CENTER SQUARE

San Francisco opened its first $5.5 million free food “market”, where approved residents can show a benefits eligibility card, put what they want in their carts, check out to keep track of outgoing inventory, and leave without paying.

The Bayview-Hunters Point facility aims to be a food pantry alternative that replicates the supermarket experience in an area where many grocery stores have come but few have remained due to high crime. 

The 4000-square foot District 10 Market is the first of San Francisco’s food empowerment “markets” funded by the San Francisco’s Human Services Agency. Eligible individuals receive a Costo-like benefits card that allows use of the facility once per month. Eligibility is limited to individuals who live within one of three zip codes, are verified social services clients, have dependents under 25 or a qualified food-related illness, and be referred by one of eleven community organizations in the market’s referral network. 

Geoffrea Morris, who spearheaded San Francisco’s Food Empowerment Market legislation in 2021 while working for a county supervisor and is a senior consultant for the District 10 Market, explains the program is meant to supplement food stamps that run out towards the end of the month, especially due to rising food costs from inflation. 

“This is a supplemental source for food. Food stamps should be the primary source. This is a supplemental source especially close to the end of the month when families are facing the pain, especially with inflation,” Morris told The Center Square.

The facility is designed to closely replicate the supermarket experience, with individuals’ items weighed and scanned upon “check-out” to keep track of inventory and manage supply chains. District 10 Market, which is operating on a $5.5 million grant from San Francisco, uses taxpayer funds to purchase high-quality fresh produce from Rodriguez Brothers Ranch in Watsonville, and largely relies on donations from other grocery stores for its shelf-stable items and toiletries. 

“If we didn’t tell you it was free you’d think you’d have to pay,” Morris said. 

Morris also detailed how District 10 Market’s referral process is meant to ensure use of wraparound services.

“If you’re having food insecurity you’re having other issues as well and you need to be engaged with the services the city has put in place to improve your life and the life of your children,” Morris said.

District 10 is one of San Francisco’s poorest communities, and is home to some of the city’s largest public housing projects. As a result of high crime, grocery stores have had a hard time staying in businesses in the area, despite the large population.

“We’ve had plenty of chains come in and out of the community. Over my lifetime plenty of chains have come in and left,” recalled Morris. 

The Bayview-Hunters Point community has 40,495 residents, is home to designated United States Department of Agriculture “food desert” with low fresh food availability, and a high property crime rate in the area. In the first six months of 2019, the area had reports of 143 robberies, 129 assaults, 195 burglaries, 308 motor vehicle thefts, 889 larceny thefts. Those numbers largely declined in the first six months of 2024, in which 78 robberies, 120 assaults, 174 burglaries, 353 motor vehicle thefts, 431 larceny thefts were reported, but business organizations say apparent crime reductions as reported in San Francisco and much of California are from less reporting of crime, not less actual crime.

“We know that there is underreporting. Since Prop 47 was passed, murder, rape and robbery increased by more than 20% in the number of crimes. Same holds true for motor vehicle theft which is up 19.8% since the passage of Proposition 47,” said Matt Ross, Communications Director for Californians Against Retail & Residential Theft, to The Center Square. “The only significant drop is burglary at 30%  So either California is doing an amazing job at stopping burglary when every other crime stat is on the increase, or there is underreporting.”

Should the Bayview-Hunters Point facility meet city goals, the city plans on rolling out more facilities in other low-income districts.

31 COMMENTS

  1. What a very Christian thing to do.

    Matthew 25: 35 For I was an hungry, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in. 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.

    News item: As 2023 ends and temperatures drop to the single digits, Anchorage is set to end the year with 51 people — 33 men and 18 women — dying outside, according to records from the Anchorage Police Department – KTUU. Maybe LaFrance will do better.

    • Hans, Please realize Yeshuah was speaking to you and me personally when He uttered those words. Notice He never said, “and for your convenience you can delegate to your government these responsibilities I have given you… even though it takes a 60% portion for processing.” It is a grand fallacy to believe we can fulfill our obligations to our Heavenly Father by delegating them to our corrupt government.

    • Hans, The poor will always be with us and quite honestly a close and honest evaluation of most of them reveals that the ‘poorness’ is self inflicted. I for one have no sympathy for that sort.

      • Let us hope that you never fall into poverty and become subject to the same lack of sympathy that you espouse.

    • Hans …. They died from overdoses, alcohol related incidents & poor health (substance abuse & poor health habits)
      They did not starve or freeze.
      Jesus did not say support drug addiction & intoxication.

  2. “This is a supplemental source for food. Food stamps should be the primary source. This is a supplemental source especially close to the end of the month when families are facing the pain, especially with inflation,” Morris told The Center Square.

    When they have used their EBT on Doordash and fast food they might need some help, right?

  3. Proposition 47 is the California law that deemed shoplifting merchandise under $950 a misdemeanor. Smash and grab parties have grown exponentially since its passing. Some are trying to get the law reversed:
    ‘https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article287783600.html

  4. Better give free toilet paper as well for the Houseless . Sliden a Biden , new term dropping trow . Other words unabated street crapping

  5. At first glance this picture of the White House looks like a rainbow of outhouses side by side 😳 Very fitting, I must admit 🤪

  6. Typical Liberal Left. They want everything free … Can we please stop showing Gay Pride pics of the alphabet people’s color on Federal buildings? The more you show it, the more power is given to them.
    The article could have had a pic of the Haight Ashbury sign instead… That would have been more appropriate. Don’t give them an inch anywhere guys!

    • Daisy, on the other hand, people need to be aware of the progression of the leftist agenda. As you have heard, a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m sure you will agree the decline and fall of our republic is more a consequence of those who stand by and tolerate it rather than those that perpetrate it. In summary, the complacent faction that agrees with us needs to see what is happening…. as we attempt to motivate them to action.

  7. Only thing that’s changed is who’s footing the bill. In CA the homeless have been grabbing food from grocery stores and leaving without paying for years. Now it’s the taxpayer opposed to the grocery chains.

  8. That area is a wretched hive of scumandvillainy. Someone tried to rob aFed in raid jacket after the Fed finished a dumpster dive on drug suspevts.. The attempted robber got clobbered. Not very bright that one

  9. Seems like a very peaceful and Christian program. They aren’t freeloaders. They are vetted. They are hungry.

  10. Geoffrea Morris, who spearheaded San Francisco’s Food Empowerment Market legislation States: “This is a supplemental source especially close to the end of the month when families are facing the pain, especially with inflation,”

    I guess she missed the word from Biden….Inflation is over.

  11. “……….If you’re having food insecurity you’re having other issues as well……….”
    If you’re a proud communist, you have other issues as well.

  12. I’m baffled why San Francisco’s homeless problem grows despite all the handouts they give the homeless.

  13. What a good way to test out all of the lab-grown meat, insect food, plant-based food with a splash of mRNA. The illegal regime will control what those people eat. Not worth it imho.

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