Food Shift’s COVID-19 Relief Program

Operation Together fills in the gaps where regular food supply chains are interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, linking excess produce from wholesalers to frontline food assistance organizations. Food Shift supplies food to organizations serving food insecure people, including unhoused, low income, elderly, and immunocompromised folks who are disproportionately burdened by COVID. Contact to get involved.

Health is a right, not a privilege

This pandemic affects us all, but it has hit our most vulnerable community members, and the frontline organizations that serve them, the hardest. Financial insecurity drives food insecurity, and an increasing portion of our community is unsure of where their next meal will come from.

Facing food supply chain disruptions, food assistance organizations can’t scale to keep pace with increasing demand. To make matters worse, many frontline organizations are pushed to purchase bulk stock of pantry staples at grocery stores, unintentionally competing with the very constituents they aim to serve. Feeding people is essentially a local activity, and grassroots operations working at a local level lack access to the relationships we have at the wholesale level, like our partnership with SF Market among others.

Through Operation Together, Food Shift is working to make health accessible to all in our community. Procurement of fresh, healthy food is shifted upstream to our operation so that our partners at the frontlines can focus their attention and energy on the last mile of food distribution, and so that the food chain as a whole is made more efficient. Our partners on the frontline ensure that food reaches food insecure people in the East Bay. We have a waitlist of organizations requesting our redistribution services.

As COVID unveils just how much food is ripe for rescue or upcycling, food recovery is gaining statewide traction. We are now orienting ourselves towards food and neighbors that most often get overlooked or fall through the cracks, and focusing on needs that other organizations cannot address. For instance, food banks cannot accept bulk food donations that require labor to repackage into smaller portions. Food Shift can step in to help. Non-English speakers, like our partners in the immigrant Mam community, face language barriers to accessing food aid like SNAP. Food Shift prioritizes food for these partners.

To underwrite our services, which we are providing our service to our community for free throughout this pandemic, we launched the Operation Together Campaign, with a goal to fundraise $50,000 in monetary support and $50,000 in in-kind donations. Usually our program income helps us underwrite food recovery costs, but due to COVID, our revenue-generating programs (including catering) had to be suspended. We are relying on campaign funding to redistribute needed food to organizations and help them scale up their operations. Thank you so much to our supporters, included below, who have made our work possible. 

Whether it’s through funding, supplies, or services, we invite you to join us! All donations help sustain our food redistribution service. If you donate $50 or more here, we’ll send you our illustrated cookbook for free as a thank you. You can write to to learn more about volunteering and other opportunities for you to join #OperationTogether.

Data Corner

Food Recovery:  April – September 2020

62+ tons of food redistributed since early April

10k+ food insecure people reached weekly

12+ frontline distribution partners

$219k+ in-kind food donations (123k+ lbs)
$16k+ in-kind non-food donations