SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is embarking on a major expansion of its facilities to serve tens of thousands of additional people in need of a meal.
The food bank has reached capacity, both at its longtime warehouse on Pennsylvania Ave. in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood, and at a building in Novato it has been leasing to serve Marin County, even as it continues to improve its services.
"We're turning away donations and that's just a bad thing," said Executive Director Paul Ash.
The food bank is adding 28,000 square feet of warehouse space in San Francisco, and renovating a newly-acquired 38,000 square-foot facility in San Rafael, which is approximately three times the size of the building in Novato.
The expansions will allow the food bank to increase the amount of people it serves from 140,000 a week by another 50 percent by the year 2040.
A new report from the SF-Marin Food Bank shows low-income residents in San Francisco and Marin counties missed over 35 million meals in 2017, down from a high of 62 million in 2013, and from 43 million missing meals in 2016.
"It's a combination of us doing more, getting more food out in the community and we also say that there are fewer people below 200 percent of poverty living in San Francisco," said Ash.
"We're encouraged by the growth in nonprofit meals provided, meaning the food bank and our network of partners are making a difference in the community," he said. "But the fact of the matter is that 35 million missing meals is 35 million too many."
A lot has changed in the 20 years the food bank been at its current headquarters in San Francisco. At first, it didn't traffic in produce. Now produce makes up 60 percent of its donations, and more storage is needed.
The food bank supplies more than 400 other non-profits in San Francisco and Marin counties, all partners in the goal of "no missed meals."
"The passion is, no one should go hungry," said Ash.
The work is expected to be finished by the summer of 2021. The cost of both projects: about $40 million.
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