Healthy Children Pantries Help Parents Make Ends Meet


It’s 8 a.m., and children romp on the playground outside of Starr King Elementary, a public school nestled on top of Potrero Hill in San Francisco.

The morning scene of laughter and games is typical of any schoolyard, but inside something very special is happening — their parents are choosing groceries from the school’s Healthy Children Pantry.

Michael is a single father of three girls at the school. He works in construction when jobs are available, but it can be hard to find work these days and even harder to balance work and caring for his three girls.

“This pantry is a blessing. It helps us save money for other things that we need, and allows me to feed my girls so they can be healthy and happy. I’m very thankful for that.”

The pantry, a program of the San Francisco Food Bank and Marin Food Bank, provides staples, grains and legumes, along with fresh produce for families to take home.

Thanks to the recent increased support of donors, the Food Bank has recently been able to supply Michael’s pantry with eggs twice a month.

“I’d say their favorite foods are cereal and eggs. Hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, eggs any way — they love them!” Michael explained.

Like so many children in San Francisco and Marin, Michael’s daughters get a free lunch at school.

“We get a calendar of what the lunch is going to be, so I know what they eat. It’s good that we can eat the groceries from the pantry at home and they can eat lunch at school. That certainly helps.”

Michael started volunteering at the pantry when he realized how much the groceries were helping his family. Because of our donors’ support, the Healthy Children Pantry at Starr King Elementary is able to help Michael’s family get by in tough times.

“My growing girls want to eat all day! They are the ones that encouraged me to volunteer,” Michael told us as he helped other parents select food from the bins laid out across the pantry tables. “They’re always saying ‘Daddy, when’s the pantry?’ Tuesday, I tell ‘em, every Tuesday.”

For information on the San Francisco Food Bank and Marin Food Bank, go to


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