Haight Ashbury Food Program Logo

The Meal Times

Fall 2023
Peace, Love & Food

Reducing Food Waste

Sorting Produce

These days, waste reduction is all the rage, and currently mandated for businesses by the City of San Francisco’s Department of Environment. At the Haight Ashbury Food Program, we have been doing it for decades! For years we have tracked how many tons of food we “rescued” (now referred to as “redistribution”) each year from landfills and used instead as resources for meals provided in our Community Kitchen. Today, we redistribute these as additional items we can provide to our customers, in addition to the basics provided by the San Francisco Food Bank. What we cannot use from these contributions, we make sure to share with local partner organizations if possible, or add to our compost/recycling.

HAFP is committed to continuing our tradition of feeding people while contributing to the health, safety, and sustainability of our beautiful City.

Above: We receive dozens of donated boxes of produce deemed unsellable. James, our Assistant Pantry Manager, is one of many HAFP workers who painstakingly separates the good from the bad, saving usable fruit and vegetables for use.

Featured Community Partners

Sequoia Living Group Photo

Folks at Sequoia Living don’t like to waste food. Victor once lived in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood and is familiar with our program. When he and his wife moved to Sequoia Living, he began a practice delivering theirs and other residents’ surplus food and household items to our Pantry on Saturday mornings.
Aware that many of our clients are Seniors, they commit to Waste Reduction through Giving. 
What a terrific group!!!

Above (from left): 
Paula, John, Nancy, and Victor

Grocers at Mollie Stone's

All Mollie Stone’s markets participate in food waste donation programs. In addition to giving to crucial programs like ours, they work with the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank’s Fresh Rescue Program, which redistributes surplus food.

friendly grocers at Mollie Stone’s

Volunteer Paige delivering a box of groceries

Dedicated HAFP volunteer, Paige, unloading the last of the Mollie Stone’s boxes she picks up and delivers to us each week. We also get weekly donations from other grocers, including Luke’s Local, Gus’s Community Market, and lots of help from Food Runners.

HAFP volunteer, Paige

Elaine the Egg Lady
Each week, this patient volunteer carefully discards broken eggs from donated cartons of eggs that cannot be sold and repackages those still viable.  She’s not crazy about her Pantry nickname, “The Egg Lady”, so we just call her Elaine.
icon of groceries

If you are interested in volunteering, please RSVP for a shift at: theFoodProgram.org/volunteer

Feeding Unhoused Neighbors

HAFP fights food waste by delivering excess stock from grocery stores to various homeless outreach, drug treatment, and mental health programs. Volunteer drivers deliver to various social service sites, including Larkin Street Youth Services, Baker Places, and Progress Foundation facilities with dozens of clients.

The Public Charge rule has frightened many immigrants from signing up for food services like ours. We reach this population each week by doing a bulk distribution at a Mission district flea market where many undocumented immigrants gather. We also take boxes of fruits and veggies, that need no cooking, to popular gathering spots. Additional teams of volunteers go on walks in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood and distribute fruit boxes to street kids.

Visit our website to learn more about donating food and other helpful non-food items we redistribute to those in need: 

Boxes with Free written on them ready to be filled with groceries

Above: small and recyclable free boxes are ready to be filled with fruit, vegetables, and food items that do 
not require cooking.

reused boxes filled with food

Reusing and Recycling—At HAFP, we strive for sustainability. Here, boxes are packed by helpful hands for food deliveries, reusing the fruit boxes in which we receive food donations. We also reuse egg cartons, plastic fruit containers, and small boxes when we divide large quantity items into smaller portions for distribution. Even using something one more time before it hits the landfill helps!

Living Haight Ashbury Values

We keep the spirit of San Francisco and Haight Ashbury values alive by delivering to artist housing collectives to support low income, creative people who make our City’s culture so special. Our team of volunteer drivers deliver 
excess food boxes to painters, 
DJ’s, activists, artists, and 
clothing designers to help them stay in the community.

Cultural Nutrition Boxes full of food
donation items: toiletries, socks, non-perishable food

We take donations from homes if unopened and not expired. Please call 415-910-4451 to arrange drop off.  Also, you may come by 1525 Waller Street between 9am and 11am any Saturday Morning. We especially appreciate gifts of canned foods, socks, and toiletries.