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EatSF - Vouchers 4 Veggies

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Food, Health, Nutrition, Public Health

Mission: We provide healthy food vouchers to vulnerable residents through a network of community-based organizations, thereby supporting health and wellness, fostering community, and reducing food deserts by sustaining local food vendors.

Results: Since launching in early 2015, we have partnered with over 60 community-based organizations to assist more than 6,000 low-income adults and children in eating healthier diets and improving health, with 99% of participants eating more fruits and vegetables, 93% eating less unhealthy food, 97% reporting higher confidence in making healthy choices on a budget, and 94% reporting improved health status. EatSF has infused more than three quarters of a million dollars in produce purchases into low-income neighborhoods - creating a demand for fruits and vegetables, thereby reducing food deserts and increasing produce supply for everyone.

Target demographics: low-income individuals and families

Direct beneficiaries per year: 3,000+ low-income families and individuals

Geographic areas served: San Francisco and beyond!

Programs: EatSF fruit and vegetable voucher program

Community Stories

10 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I wanted to share two client stories that speak to the effectiveness and support your program has offered to date:

I was attending a group session last week to distribute the additional vouchers you’re offering during May and June and witnessed a participant bring in organic strawberries he had just purchased across the street at the UN plaza farmer’s market. He had used one of his vouchers to make the purchase and was able to buy enough to share the strawberries with fellow participants in the group. He spoke about how easy it was to use the vouchers and that it gave him a good feeling to be able to purchase and share a healthy alternative to others in need. It also encouraged two more eligible clients to sign up for the program on the spot.

The second story involves a Spanish speaking only client who supports 3 other family members. While assisting him in filling out the pre-program survey with the support of an interpreter, I learned how he used his food stamps that equaled about two weeks’ worth of food for him and his family and how he stretched that two weeks into 3-3 1/2 weeks’ worth of food. The addition of the supplemental EatSF program is allowing him to provide for himself and his family for the entire month now.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am the Support Services Director of the Pacific Bay Inn Hotel and by offering EatSF at our Hotel, the clients have personally told me how it has greatly impacted them on many levels. The clients report how EatSF ensures them of eating healthy, along with providing them with healthy fruits and vegetables for the month. Our clients consistently come in on a monthly basis to take advantage of the vouchers and they express how it has influenced them make healthier choices by having an allocated amount to spend on fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits. Clients who have never been to their local farmers' market due to uncertainty of how to shop for produce and high prices were able to use their vouchers to buy seasonal produce and continue to go after the program's completion. Unfortunately the program is revamping and not issuing vouchers at this time, but our clients are coming by asking when is it going to start up again. I really appreciate the remarkable services EatSF staff has offered and congratulate them for the great impact it's had on our clients here at the Pacific Bay Inn. Thank you all so much!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am the Health and Wellness ambassador for the Hunterview family center where I have helped many of our community members sign up for the Eat SF program. Since this program has started it has increased the consumption of healthy foods but also helping these family’s to have enuff food to last throughout the month. Listening to clients talk about how much there children and there hole family in general eats more fruits and veggies thanks to the Eat SF program is an amazing thing. and I hope that this service will continue to be available because these family’s really benefit from it.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The residents in my building complain about one problem with EatSF-they want more of it!

EatSF has filled a gap for our residents. Many of our residents don't qualify for food stamps, but are on small, fixed budgets. Our residents rave about how great it is to be able to choose the fruit or veg they want.

Residents have also connected to how EatSF is helping the neighborhood economy because they create new dollars being spent in locally owned stores.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I serve a non-profit organization dedicated to housing many people with physical and/or mental disabilities who are also living way below the federal poverty line. This program has been life changing for many of my residents in the Tenderloin. Known as a food desert, tenants living in the Tenderloin district do not have much choice when it comes to what type of food they have access to. Many of them have health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or other diagnosis which require them eat healthier, and often times more expensive, foods. They are, too often, faced with the choice of following their doctor's recommendations and buying only one healthy item or buying a whole week's worth of junk food. In this day in age, our residents should have the right to enjoy quality food and not to have to decide between having a meal every day of the week versus being able to afford only one plate of veggies. I can't tell you how many times residents have come up and asked about this program and how now they can control their diabetes better or can enjoy more nutritious meals because they actually have money to spare for a decent bag of groceries. I hope we are able to continue our partnership with EatSF and improve the quality of life for our residents. Their coordinators are great staff that truly listen to the needs of their participants and work with organizations such as ours to provide quality access. Many thanks from Mercy Housing and its occupants.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This has been an absolutely fantastic program for the patients I helped sign up in clinic. It's extremely well run and allows patients to take charge of their own health. It has made my patients more willing to try new fruits and vegetables and helps them form new healthy eating habits. The extra flexibility the vouchers give has been especially impactful to my patients on a tight budget. There are many stores that accept the vouchers and a wide time range is given to use them which is very helpful to people that have difficulty attending pantries that have limited hours. I really hope to see this program continue because it has been a tremendous help to members of the community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

By offering EatSF at our clinic, I was personally able to hear about how it impacted patients' health. Families have expressed how it influenced them make healthier choices by having an allocated amount to spend on fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits. Patients who have never been to their local farmers' market due to uncertainty of how to shop for produce and high prices were able to use their vouchers to buy seasonal produce and continue to go after the program's completion. Patients mentioned how EatSF vouchers alleviated food budget constraints by not needing to choose between spending money for food or paying for household necessities. Families who had received the promotional vouchers found them beneficial during unforeseen situations. Patients do not want this program to stop and I would love for it to be expanded for use for the entire city. It was a token of kindness that was warmly received by all and hopefully it can continue to impact many more.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EAT SF is a lifeline for our clients who struggle to eat healthy meals. I work at a non-profit health clinic with low income people who are living with chronic illnesses. These people are SoMa and Tenderloin residents, whose primary source of food can be unhealthy items from the local corner store. For clients who are often disabled or are living with a life altering illness, it can be difficult to travel far (outside of the food deserts) to purchase healthy food from a large grocery store. It can also be expensive to eat nutritional food individuals living on a fixed or low income in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. EAT SF has helped this issue by increasing accessibility to healthy food for people in our communities. Clients now have money to budget for fruits and vegetables to promote a nutritional diet for many health compromised people. Many corner stores who sell produce in the Tenderloin and SoMa areas (which are near client's apartments and SROs) are participating by accepting these vouchers and making it more accessible and affordable. In addition, clients can go to the Civic Center farmer's market to utilize their vouchers as well. EAT SF has also been very helpful by not only supplying monetary assistance but also educating people about budgeting, nutrition, and meal preparation. We have over 100 people coming in monthly to pick up these vouchers. Our community depends on EAT SF for sustenance. Please look into this resource for your clients if you haven't already!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This program is helping to address barriers to accessing nutritious foods. The patients I have enrolled at the clinic where I work have been so grateful to receive vouchers to buy the fruits and vegetables we recommend they eat to lead healthier lives. For most patients this program makes it easier to eat healthier, and for some it makes it a possibility they couldn't afford before. The educational materials enables participants to learn budgeting tips to make their fruit and veggie habit more affordable and makes it easier to introduce others to a new way of eating. As a health educator, I am happy to be able to offer this program to patients with chronic disease working towards their health goals.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I would like to say that since EatSF program started in 2015 in Tenderloin neighborhood that there's less people going hungry. That their able to afford and eat sustainable fruits and vegetables.
The nonprofit agency that I work for participants use and relay on these vouchers to be able to have something to eat that's nutritious . Being able to eat something that's wholesome gives them a sense well being .
I can see the difference in each individual that receive EatSF vouchers, how important it is for them to be able to buy food that they could not normally afford on their budget. Being mindful that their budget is quiet low . I am grateful and honored that EatSF partners with this nonprofit in the Tenderloin community.