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SF Marin Food Bank volunteer encourages others to donate time

Longtime Bay Area food bank volunteer appeals to others to contribute their time
Longtime Bay Area food bank volunteer appeals to others to contribute their time 02:16

SAN FRANCISCO -- The number of people volunteering nationwide is dropping while the need is only growing. One San Francisco man has made it a tradition to give back, and he's encouraging others to do the same.  

Every Thursday at 8 a.m., you can catch Herbert Lee smiling and prepping groceries at a pop-up pantry in Chinatown.

Herbert Lee
Herbert Lee KPIX

"I chose this site specifically because of my heritage," Lee said. "I actually grew up in this neighborhood and wanted to give back."

Lee started volunteering at the SF Marin Food Bank back in 2020. Now, he would like to see more people signup to help regularly.

"The food bank has made it so convenient for everybody and to fit into everybody's work schedule and personal life schedule," said Lee. "[So] there is absolutely no reason why you cannot volunteer."

In the past three years, the number of people volunteering nationwide has dropped by 7 percent. This is according to a new study by the U.S. Census Bureau and Americorp. 

It's a trend that the food bank says they have noticed as well. They've also been seeing a double digit increase in households taking advantage of their services.

Staff at the food bank, like Jason Nunan, says being able to help some of the most vulnerable families keeps him going.

"There is no higher calling than to help an aging widow eat and a mom with young kids eat," Nunan said. "1 out of 5 San Franciscans is not sure where their next meal is coming from. So, I tell the volunteers this is the best thing you can do all day."

Lee shares he is grateful to be a part of a program his family could have used when he was growing up.

"We grew up poor and we didn't have any of this and so understanding that the ability to share and help is a real heartwarming feeling," Lee said.

SF Marin Food Bank says they are welcoming new and past volunteers to get involved in one of their many services.

Anyone interested in getting involved can go to their website at for more information.   

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