Neighborhood Food Distributions
Everyone Deserves Access to Nutritious Food
We all need help sometimes, whether it’s paying for school, finding a job or putting food on the table. The SLO Food Bank is here to support people facing hunger in San Luis Obispo County. Our Neighborhood Food Distributions are free to income-eligible recipients, open to the public, and located in every community countywide.
What We Do
We believe that everyone has the right to nutritious food and that free access to a reliable supply of wholesome food makes us all healthier, happier and more productive members of our communities. With the help of many committed volunteers and community partners, we operate 80 distributions per month at 64 locations.
How do I get food?
- Recipients should live in the geographical area being served.
- Recipients should meet established income guidelines.
No income documentation or identification is required. Participants certify they meet the posted California Department of Social Services (CDSS) 2020 Income Guidelines by providing their name, address and the total number of people in their household on a sign-in sheet at the distribution site.* This information is used only to report the number of participants served.
Alternate Pick-Up Forms are available for those who are unable to attend a distribution and have a friend, neighbor or family member who can pick up food for them. Forms should be completed ahead of time, and a new one should be presented each time food is picked up.
*Please note: As part of the SLO Food Bank’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are temporarily not requiring participants to sign-in themselves, at distributions. Volunteers or SLO Food Bank staff will be collecting this information instead.
Where does the food come from?
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
TEFAP is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost. The California Department of Social Services oversees this program in California, connecting food banks around the state with food provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Locally we distribute this food through our Neighborhood Food Distributions at community centers, churches, schools, senior centers, and veterans halls throughout the county. We also make USDA food available to local meal programs that cook and serve it at congregate meal sites.
Food provided to us through the TEFAP program consists mainly of shelf-stable items like canned goods, dried beans, rice, pasta, cereal, and juice. Each month a menu is created from our USDA commodity inventory focused on variety and nutrition. These products are bagged in our warehouse by volunteers and then transported to distribution sites by our trucks.
Billions of pounds of safe food is removed from grocery store shelves nationwide each year. To avoid having it thrown away or wasted, Feeding America and its network of food banks and participating grocery stores across the country work to recover this food for consumption and put it into the hands of families and individuals who need it the most.
In San Luis Obispo County the SLO Food Bank picks up rescued product–bread, cold prepared food, dairy, eggs, meat–from an average of 15 local grocery stores each week. The product is brought back to our warehouse, sorted by volunteers, and then sent out to distribution sites.
Farm to Family
The California Association of Food Banks’ (CAFB) Farm to Family program works with farmers, ranchers, packers, and shippers to get surplus California farm products from the field to food banks statewide. Produce arrives in our warehouse in large totes and volunteers pack it into smaller orders that are delivered to distribution sites.
GleanSLO, a program of the SLO Food Bank, rescues excess produce from local backyards and farms by organizing groups of volunteers to harvest or collect leftover fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. Residents in need receive this fresh, local produce through our programs. Since 2010, GleanSLO has rescued over 1 million pounds of produce in San Luis Obispo County.
Each year we strive to make 50% of the food we distribute fresh fruits and vegetables.
Become a Volunteer
If you’d like to volunteer at a Neighborhood Food Distribution, or if you’d like to volunteer at our warehouse to help pack orders for distribution, please take a look at our volunteer opportunities.