Feeding Family & Community During the Holidays
Each year, Bi-Rite staff come together to pack healthy holiday meal boxes which are distributed to families in need throughout our Western Addition neighborhood. It’s incredibly important and fills us with gratitude we carry throughout the year.
This 2020 holiday season, 400 families in the Western Addition received a box brimming with the makings of a fresh, healthy holiday meal. And it all happens thanks to the care and commitment of Collective Impact, the neighborhood-based nonprofit behind the Mo’MAGIC Holiday Food Box program.
“Sitting down at the table together is really important – it keeps families healthy and connected. That’s why we put so much effort into our Western Addition food boxes each year,” says Mo’MAGIC’s executive director, Brittany Ford. “For families living in SROs and low-income housing units, these boxes are a wonderful reason – and way – to celebrate together.”
Since the Holiday Food Box program is a vital way for Mo’MAGIC to address the lack of access the hundreds of families living in SROs and public housing units have to turkeys and fresh, organic produce during the holidays, logistical planning for the annual homegrown program starts each spring. Volunteers are identified, partners are confirmed, and together the Collective works with different housing communities to get families signed up to receive the boxes and ensure the program truly serves their needs.
2020 is Bi-Rite’s ninth year as a partner, and it’s one of the most meaningful ways we live our community values. We’re able to donate many of the fixings, working with our local producers to source the same nutritious produce, dairy, and poultry products you find on our Market shelves. Boxes include fresh organic greens, potatoes, onions, carrots, citrus and local eggs. Free-range, organic turkeys are ordered from Mary’s in February, so they can be raised specifically for the Western Addition families. Many of our staff volunteer to sort and pack the boxes. The meals are then delivered directly to the families at their housing communities and program sites by volunteers from San Francisco Police Department.
“The act of volunteering throughout November and December is an incredibly important, fulfilling part of our Bi-Rite traditions,” explains Rachel Kiichli, Bi-Rite’s Senior Marketing + Community Manager. “With COVID things looked a little different this year, but the work needed to be done. Our team has been preparing for this since February and we’ve spent countless hours getting ready to provide these healthy meals to our Western Addition. Last year we fed 250 families, but in a year of even more dire need, we were able to increase the program 60% and provide 400 boxes. With this expansion, we were able to feed families at one new housing site, as well as three Beacon Center program sites situated in public schools. Our hope is to continue to increase our food insecurity programming, ultimately serving even more San Franciscans.”
You can be part of the holiday magic. To help make more healthy, happy, delicious holidays possible next year, visit collectiveimpact.org or reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sarah Holt, dir. of marketing + community for the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses; originally printed in Edible San Francisco