Salvation Army expands meal delivery service to San Francisco’s homeless encampments

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Since mid-April, The Salvation Army has been delivering two meals daily to people experiencing homelessness and living in encampments in San Francisco in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) through MealsinPlaceSF. Now, with the city opening  “Safe Sleeping Sites,” sanctioned encampments, The Salvation Army has added daily deliveries of breakfast, lunch and dinner to the safe sleeping site located at Hyde and Fulton, and other sites are under discussion.

 “Providing food security directly to encampments and unhoused people struggling on our streets is an essential component in expanding Shelter in Place compliance and enabling the most vulnerable among us to participate in social distancing,” said Abigail Stewart-Kahn, Interim Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “We are grateful to The Salvation Army for their innovative partnership, resources and commitment to making our community safer for everyone during this crisis.”

To date, the Army has delivered nearly 45,000 meals through MealsinPlaceSF, and the program is being extended through mid-June. In addition to meals, The Salvation Army will be providing emotional and spiritual care, as well as distributing hygiene kits and dog food.

“We’ve been finding that people we are serving are afraid and confused, everyone is grateful for a meal and a bottle of water,” said Captain Matthew Madsen, regional director for The Salvation Army in San Francisco. “We hear a lot of thank yous and see a lot of smiles when we come around with the meals…It’s part of our mission to serve the community, especially those in need, during a crisis. And now more than ever, those who are unhoused need the extra care and support that we are equipped to provide every day, and certainly during these trying times.”

Through MealsinPlaceSF, The Salvation Army is serving more than 785 homeless people daily with prepared meals and snacks delivered directly to more than 51 outdoor locations in San Francisco. The Salvation Army’s Citywide Homeless Relief & Impact Service Team (CHRIST) consists of six response units that transport and deliver the meals directly to people throughout the city experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.

The goal of this program is to improve food security and minimize COVID 19 exposure by supporting people living outside and increasing their ability to shelter in place. The meals are prepared by Oh My Green catering, and volunteers aid in the distribution.

Outside of MealsinPlaceSF, The Salvation Army continues to house 700 people every night through its residential, transitional living and adult rehabilitation programs. 

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