SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee revealed on Wednesday, July 12 that his proposed two-year budget will feature $37.4 million  for nutrition services, including $19.2 million for home-delivered meal programs that assist seniors, people with disabilities and families in San Francisco. Annual spending levels for nutrition programs, which include home-delivered meal services have nearly doubled in the past 7 years.

“With proposed federal cuts threatening many of these home-delivered meal programs, we have a duty to fully fund them at the local level,” said Mayor Lee. “By providing support for their operations, we are ensuring that these meal delivery programs maintain much-needed services for our residents. The organizations not only deliver food and groceries, but their employees offer conversation, engagement and warm smiles to their clients.”

The Mayor’s budget supports other nutrition initiatives that include food services for community centers and home grocery delivery services. During the last fiscal year, meal programs contracted by the Department of Aging and Adult Services delivered more than 1 million meals through community dining programs and nearly 2 million home-delivered meals. Funding levels for these programs have increased by 109 percent over the past seven years. Home-delivered meal programs helps residents who lack mobility options or live in disadvantaged communities without fresh food options.

“The meal and grocery programs funded by the Department of Aging and Adult Services help prevent negative health outcomes and also provide our clients with opportunities to connect with peers and the larger social service network,” said Shireen McSpadden, Executive Director of the Department of Aging and Adult Services. “San Francisco is fortunate to have community advocates and City leadership that have demonstrated such a strong commitment to supporting nutrition services for older adults and persons with disabilities.”

“It is a testament to our priorities as a city that this year’s budget supports programs that not only combat hunger and food insecurity in San Francisco, but also build community and reduce social isolation,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen. “Meals on Wheels is an exemplary service in that regard, and I’m proud to have them as a Bayview neighbor. The breadth of communities that they serve, and the direct impact they have on the lives and health of many of our city’s most vulnerable populations, is an inspiration.”

San Francisco’s home-delivered meal partner programs include organizations such as Meals on Wheels, Centro Latino de San Francisco, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Russian American Community Services and Self-Help for the Elderly. The Office of Economic and Workforce Development is assisting Meals on Wheels as it transitions into a newer, larger office building on Jerrold Avenue.

“Meals on Wheels San Francisco is the leading organization supporting homebound seniors in San Francisco,” said Ashley McCumber, Meals on Wheels San Francisco CEO.  “Our main partner is the City of San Francisco – which provides 50 percent of our annual funding. Through our partnership with the City, we have reduced the waitlist for our services for homebound seniors and expanded support for homebound adults with disabilities (aged under 60). We run an extensive home-delivered grocery program for low-income seniors who are still able to cook, and we are thrilled to provide all meals for the City’s recently-launched Navigation Centers. Without support from the City, including substantial investments made by Mayor Ed Lee, many seniors would be forced to move into long-term care facilities. Working alongside the City, Meals on Wheels provides seniors across San Francisco the opportunity to age with dignity and independence in their own homes, where they want to be.”

“The expansion of Meals on Wheels funding is a win on two fronts.” said Todd Rufo, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “It retains and grows a critical community-serving nonprofit, and it adds meaningful, livable-wage jobs for diverse San Francisco residents.”

Written By Casey Jacobs