We know it can be a challenge to find food during the Coronavirus outbreak, especially if you are at increased risk and/or struggling with the financial impact of this crisis. Below are some resources that we hope will help.
Plan your meals to limit trips out for food
- Make a grocery list! If possible, plan ahead so that you purchase enough food for one to two weeks.
- Plan your meals. Visit websites like EatingWell.com for free 7-day meal plans with grocery lists. Try meal planning websites/apps like MealPlannerPro or Mealime.
- Pick recipes that are flexible– not every ingredient will be available.
- Buy foods that you can use in more than one recipe. Choose produce that doesn’t spoil quickly, and that is easy to wash and/or cook. Stock up on basics like rice, pasta, beans, and canned goods.
Maintain social distancing while you are grocery shopping
- Practice social distancing! Keep at least 6 feet away from other people on transportation, standing in lines, and while shopping.
- Sanitize your shopping cart or basket if you can. Consider wearing gloves.
- Consider one-time-use bags. Leave reusable bags at home unless you can launder them after each use.
- Shop when stores are less crowded. Shop at corner stores and specialty stores. Shop at stores with shopping hours reserved for older adults and people with disabilities(contact stores to confirm days and times).
- Shop at a Farmer’s Market. Many markets are still open for produce and other items, and many accept EBT. Check your favorite market before you go: Heart of the City Farmer’s Market, CUESA (Ferry Building), and Alemany Farmer’s Market. Read tips on how to shop safely at a farmer’s market.
Find a local Food Pantry & other food options
- Call the San Francisco Department of Disability & Aging Benefits & Resource Line: 415-355-6700
- Find Food using the SF Marin Food Bank Food Locator (most up to date) or download a list of Food Pantries available without registration or ID.
- Free Farmstand at Parque Unidos operates every Sunday at. 23rd Street at Treat Ave. Arrive at 12:00 pm for a number, food is distributed at 1pm.
- Download a meal site directory for seniors & people with disabilities. (most offer Take Away only, and you should contact the site to confirm whether it is still open before visiting).
Consider food delivery options
- Ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to shop when they go out. Faith communities and Nextdoor.com users are also good sources for finding help.
- Try food delivery services, but expect higher costs and long wait times. Options include Farmsteadapp.com (groceries), Farm Fresh to You (mostly produce), Imperfect Produce (mostly produce), and Whole Foods (for Amazon Prime members).
- Ask for “No Contact Delivery.” Don’t meet the person delivering your food at the door. Instead, ask them to let you know when the food is there, then pick up the food when they are at least 6 feet away. Tip delivery people generously!
- Have shelf-stable foods shipped from an online store like Boxed.com, ShopFoodEx.com, or ThriveMarket.com (try free for 30 days, then $60 annual membership).
- Consider meal kit deliveries like BlueApron.com, EveryPlate.com, Freshly.com, HomeChef.com, PurpleCarrot.com, and SunBasket.com These are expensive, but do include the ingredients you need to cook a meal without going to the store.
Take care when unpacking, storing, and preparing your food
Avoid moving grocery bags right onto a counter or table. Ideally, keep the bags near your door. Bring the food individually into your kitchen and throw away the paper bag. Follow the guidelines below to further minimize any chances of virus transmission. See this handy video for tips on how to safely unpack groceries.
Sanitize your surface: Wipe down your countertop or kitchen table with a household disinfecting spray or a bleach solution for at least two minutes. You can make your own bleach solution by adding one teaspoon of Clorox bleach to one cup of water. Mark off an area that you will keep sanitized.
Wash your hands: Use soap and water to thoroughly wash your hands for 20 seconds, then dry them completely.
Clean your food: Before placing any food on your sanitized area,
- Scrub fruits and vegetables that you can (apples, oranges, etc.) with soap and water for 20 seconds each. Dry off and store in a clean bowl or sanitized refrigerator drawer.
- Wipe down glass jars, plastic bottles, cans, and other sturdy non-porous packaging with disinfecting spray or wash thoroughly with soap and water.
- Throw away any external/unnecessary packaging (like cereal or cracker boxes), keeping only the clean bags of food inside the packaging.
- Empty packaged food (like plastic bags of bread) into clean plastic containers
- Re-sanitize the counter after you’ve put the food away.
- Wash your hands again!
Store your food: Refrigerate any meat or eggs. Store other groceries in areas where it will not be contaminated.
Prepare your food safely
- Always remember to wash your fruits and vegetables before eating!
- When possible, cook or microwave food before eating. (Note that freezing does not kill the Coronavirus).
- Be sure meats and eggs are fully cooked before eating.