Crime Scenes,

The Food Bank Black Market

They'll be back.
They’ll be back. Photo: Grub Street

Frequenters of the Heart of the City Farmers Market at UN Plaza are probably familiar with the rag-tag team of elderly folks re-selling provisions labeled “not for resale” from the San Francisco Food Bank, a practice that has increased in recent years due to the recession. They can usually be spotted at various places along Market near UN Plaza until they’re told to scram by SFPD, but they always find their way back.

Mission Local investigated the story last fall and found that the re-sellers venture all over the city to pick-up food donations and work in teams in order to edge out other recipients, who complain of there being nothing left by the time they reach their turn in line.

The food bank doesn’t condone recipients signing up for multiple centers, but they have mixed feelings about regulating the food bank too strictly. As San Francisco Food Bank’s media manager, Stacy Newman, told Mission Local, the resellers make up less than one percent of people who receive donations, and she, among food pantry managers, warns that “excessive policing of recipients could alienate the people they’re trying to help.”

Mission Local notes that the food bank is currently working with the pantries on ways to deal with the issue, including a new centralized database and enrollment system.

Previously: Four Tons of Starbucks Coffee Lands at Food Bank

Seniors Bag Eats from Food Banks to Sell [Mission Local]

The Food Bank Black Market