Short Cuts

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Slow Streets

Phase III of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Slow Streets program launched last month, with the addition of Minnesota Street from Mariposa to 22nd Street, 20th Street from San Bruno to Pennsylvania, Arkansas from 23rd to 17th streets, and an extension of the Mariposa Slow Street from Texas to Mississippi. Enjoy!

Food Union

Last month the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank and the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 29 agreed on a contract, which’ll provide Food Bank employees with more job protections, guaranteed raises and better benefits.  The nonprofit provides groceries to 60,000 households weekly. “After the firemen, police and other first responders during a crisis, food bankers come in and make sure the community is being fed,” said Abel Murillo, the Food Bank’s business intelligence developer. “We take so much pride in that work, and we take that responsibility very, very seriously. We knew that our success in the community depended on us having a workplace that has the gears well-oiled.” Most Food Banks, or mission-driven nonprofits, aren’t unionized.  “There is a lot of real buy-in to the mission of the organization, and sometimes that presents a dynamic where people are not inclined to advocate for their needs, their rights, their wages because they’re so invested,” union representative Nat Naylor said.  The agreement includes a three percent guaranteed wage increase for the Food Bank’s 140 workers over three years; previously, some received as little as a five-cent-per-hour raise, according to the union. The Food Bank will cover a greater percentage of health insurance premiums, notably for dependents. An added floating holiday allows employees to celebrate Juneteenth, Lunar New Year or another holiday of their choosing. 

Food Volunteers

The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank’s COVID-19 response programs are grappling with a decline in volunteers.  Last month the Food Bank was only able to fill roughly half of its unpaid worker slots, while the number of hungry households has nearly doubled since the onset of the public health crisis. To meet pressing needs, the Food Bank opened 29 emergency Pop-up Food Pantries and launched the Pantry at Home program to deliver fresh groceries to seniors sheltering-in-place. It takes 2,000 volunteers a week – up from 1,200 pre-pandemic – to run these emergency programs.  Without more help, the Food Bank may need to shutter or scale back its programs. “Volunteers are the backbone of our operation, without them many families would be forced to choose between buying food or other essential needs,” said Cody Jang, Senior Community Engagement Manager, San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. “We desperately need volunteers to maintain these programs and continue to serve all our participants, especially those most impacted by COVID-19.” To volunteer: