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Mission Food Hub tries to address scarcity issues in San Francisco

Mission Food Hub faces challenges as hunger remains an issue
Mission Food Hub faces challenges as hunger remains an issue 03:26

Ahead of San Francisco's huge Carnaval celebration in the Mission this weekend, Latino community leaders are shining the spotlight on a problem for many in their community.   

When Maria Reynoso's husband got deported to Mexico, she understood her journey would come with struggles. That included cleaning three large homes a day with most of the pay going to the small business she worked for. 

"I started nine years ago and was making $80 a day," said Reynoso.

That's $26 and change per home, working out to less than $9 an hour.  

At the onset of the pandemic, when she couldn't find much work, she began volunteering at the Mission Food Hub, which launched food distribution days to serve those in need three times a week.  

"For the people asking for a little more, I'm telling them maybe two or three pieces more," said Reynoso. 

Reynoso not only served, but also received much needed food assistance. Lately, the hub has faced challenges, recently reducing distribution days to once a week. 

"The rest of the month, what do we do? I need to look for food pantries," said Reynoso. 

Roberto Hernandez is founder of the Mission Food Hub. With San Francisco office vacancies still at all-time highs, essential jobs depending on workers commuting to the city have hit hard times. The demand for food hasn't faded.  

"What happened to the janitor that was working there? All the people that work in the hotels not being filled; what about all those workers?" asked Hernandez. 

Hernandez says the hub served 9,000 families per week at the height of pandemic. He still sees Reynoso helping at the warehouse, despite her cleaning business recently growing to serve seven clients. 

"Having family and all the struggles, she has brought so much life," said Hernandez. 

With a stronger command of English and a decade of adapting to a once foreign country, Reynoso believes she could find a better paying job with health benefits. 

But her teenage son Jonathan has special needs and multiple therapy sessions a week. She is building a small business on her own for the flexibility it allows to take care of him. 

"I feel [I'm] struggling. I need to work. It's only me and him and nobody else," said Reynoso. 

That's why she visits food pantries. It's an assist she one day hopes she won't need. 

"I'm working hard, so when I feel exhausted I tell him I'm thinking of you, and you needing me. So that's why I'm being strong. That's why," said Reynoso. 

It takes courage to tell one's story of struggle. But she's sharing it, knowing it could help the ones who need it even more than her. 

Hernandez says the Mission Food Hub isn't getting the government funding or donations like it did during the pandemic and that there have been newcomers who visit after seeing other food pantries run dry. 

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