Senior Spotlight

Senior Spotlight: Organizations Available to Help

By Judy Goddess


In pre-COVID times, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank partnered with churches, schools, and senior and community centers to provide free food to San Franciscans. Because COVID closed so many of these buildings, the Food Bank has opened temporary pop-up pantries. These pantries that will remain open until pre-COVID pantries are able to re-open.

Pop-up pantries are available in the Sunset District: Abraham Lincoln High School, 2162 24thAve., and A.P. Giannini Middle School, 3151 Ortega St., on Fridays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Both Kezar Stadium, 670 Kezar Dr., and the Stonestown YMCA, 333 Eucalyptus Dr., house pop-up pantries on Wednesdays, noon-4 p.m. 

A pop-up pantry is also available in the Richmond Districtat Roosevelt Middle School, 155 Palm Ave., Tuesdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Note: A pop-up pantry may close earlier than the stated closing time if it runs out of food.

Unlike pre-COVID food pantries, pop-up pantries do not require advance registration or documentation of need. You, or a friend, neighbor or family member, can just show up and receive groceries, free of charge. You are encouraged to bring a cart, wagon or stroller to carry your groceries home.

You may attend pop-up pantries outside of your own neighborhood, but you are asked to “attend only as many pantries as you need to provide for your family to ensure there is enough food for everyone else in need.”

For a complete list of pop-up pantries, including new pantries that may open in the next few weeks, check, call 211, or contact the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank at (415) 820-1699.  

If you are available to volunteer at a food pantry, check out Cantonese and Spanish-speaking volunteers are particularly needed.


Volunteers from One Richmond are available to those who need help. One Richmond, a program of The Richmond Neighborhood Center, was developed to “cultivate neighborhood pride centered on taking care of one another, taking care of the Richmond and supporting our local businesses.”

If you live in the Richmond and are experiencing difficulty getting to a grocery store, food pantry or pharmacy because of the shelter-in-place measures, call the One Richmond hotline for help: (888) 670-1360. Check www.onerichmondsf.comfor COVID-related news as well as other news about the community.


Volunteers from the Sunset Neighborhood Help Group can help those who need assistance. 

The Sunset Neighborhood Help Group is a “group of Sunset community members who have come together to assist fellow Sunsetters experiencing difficulty taking care of their essential needs, such as grocery and pharmacy pick-ups, during the shelter-in-place (SIP) measures.” The Sunset Neighborhood Help Group “connects neighbors who cannot or should not leave their homes to neighbors who can assist them with these basic needs. When neighbors need more complex help, we refer them to relevant, established agencies and nonprofits.”

If you live in the Sunset and could use some assistance, call their hotline at (415) 212-8770. Someone from the group’s screening team will return your call promptly.

If you are interested in volunteering, complete the volunteer form on their Facebook page. Then, watch the page for “Calls To Action.” 


The SFMTA, Muni, offers a new program called Essential Trip Card (ETC) for seniors (65+) and people with disabilities. The Essential Trip Card is accepted by all taxis in San Francisco to pay for essential trips like going to the grocery store or the doctor during the shelter-in place period. Customers who pay $6 will receive $30 value or $12 for $60 value for taxi trips on a debit card. Cards can be refilled once a month for each month of this special temporary program until the SFMTA announces its end.  

Apply for the ETC program by calling 311 weekdays, 9 a.m.- 4:45 p.m. Language assistance is provided. 


If you or a senior you know needs emotional support, The Friendship Line (TFL) is ready to listen 24/7. TFL provides a warm voice, a listening ear and a human connection to those feeling lonely during shelter-in-place.  Call (888) 670-1360 to talk with a trained hotline volunteer.


Many readers may have already identified websites and programs that occupy them during this time of sheltering in place. For those who have not, I suggest you check out the calendar of the Community Living Campaign (CLC). 

CLC is a citywide nonprofit that supports seniors and people with disabilities “live and thrive in our homes and neighborhoods as we grow older. We bring greater joy, health and connectedness to San Francisco seniors and people with disabilities through community-building, empowerment and advocacy.“The Community Living Campaign helps community-driven, collaborative solutions come to life while also serving as a strong voice at City Hall. We advance the ideas, talents, and energies of seniors and people with disabilities in all that we do.”

Community Living Campaign, including the events calendar:   

Judy Goddess is a reporter with SF Senior Beat. For more information, please visit or contact Judy at (415) 759-1994 or be email at

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