Many people would be surprised to learn that 1 in 5 people in Marin worry about where their next meal will come from. More than 10,000 children in Marin live in food-insecure households and one-third of Marin’s seniors live on a fixed income that isn't enough to make ends meet.
In Marin City, a significant percentage of residents live in poverty, and lack sufficient access to healthy, fresh, affordable food. Oftentimes the available foods are processed and high in sugar and fats. ExtraFood is so thankful for the great work being done by our partner People's Inter-Cities Fellowship in Marin City, so that we can help address this issue together.
ExtraFood partnered with the church to create a community food pantry in 2015 that serves low-income residents, one of 41 new food programs that ExtraFood started throughout the county. The pantry started when longtime church volunteer Leticia Jones was the Youth Director of the Marin City Recreation Center and didn't have a budget for snacks for the children. One day, an ExtraFood volunteer was nearby and had surplus food from another food delivery. The volunteer asked Leticia if the Rec Center needed the food for the Youth Program. Leticia gladly accepted it, and the following week the volunteer came with more food sourced by ExtraFood. The week after that, ExtraFood came with a van full of food! Leticia not only provided food for the children during the program, but she was able to send food home with them each day for their families. When the Rec Center closed down, Leticia asked Pastor Marcus Small if she could bring the donated food to members of the church, which then grew into the beautifully-run food pantry that it is today.
ExtraFood works with the church to determine what their community needs most, which includes prepared food, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products and eggs.
ExtraFood searches for donations of excess food from such organizations as Nugget Markets, Whole Foods and Marin's farmers' markets. Then, our volunteers and staff drivers pick up and deliver the food to the church, keeping high-quality food from going to waste and getting it to people who need it most.
Every Thursday, Leticia, Bridget Harris, Pastor Small and their team of volunteers organize 30 bags of food to be hand-delivered to seniors that are homebound nearby. Leticia says, "The seniors don't have anyone checking in on them. They look forward to us bringing them fresh produce and a prepared meal every week." After the bags are delivered to the seniors, Leticia's team sets up stations at the church with the different types of high-quality food that ExtraFood provides. People in the community can choose two items from each station. The pantry provides over 250 people with healthy, fresh food every week, free of charge.
The church also provides cardboard boxes with ice packs to people in the homeless encampment in Sausalito, so they can take fresh items that need to be kept cold.
People who come to the pantry know that they will have healthy food for their families and the homebound seniors know that they will have nutritious food delivered to them with a smile and hug from Leticia.
ExtraFood is proud to partner with the People's Inter-Cities Fellowship and is grateful to Leticia, Bridget, Pastor Small and their team of caring volunteers who help their community each and every week.
It is heartbreaking to see men, women, and children go hungry in our community. And it is heartbreaking to see so much fresh, nutritious food go to waste. Please join us in helping to end hunger and food waste in the North Bay.