Seniors selling what they get from food banks

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Women hold boxed packages, labeled "not for resale," that are commonly distributed by the S.F. Food Bank. Mission Local.

Visit the farmers market in downtown San Francisco on Sundays, and you may see, past the stands of organic lettuce and fresh flowers, a few elderly women hunched over a random assortment of condiments and canned goods. As security approaches, they quickly scatter, only to set up shop on the opposite corner a few moments later.

“It’s like throwing sand into the ocean, it just comes right back,” said Ken Hurst, security officer for the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market at U.N. Plaza.

According to several food pantries, elderly recipients of free food disbursements are turning around and selling the donations at various locations throughout San Francisco. Those who work in the business of handing out food say that the practice is a sign of how bad the economy has gotten for seniors trying to survive in the city. Others agree, but also say that at some food pantries, the desperation has intensified the competition for food.

A woman selling food near U.N. Plaza acknowledged that she goes all over the city to pick up food at the pantries. She then sells the items to help make ends meet.

“We don’t get enough money for rent or for daily use,” said one woman who was selling food donations she had picked up earlier. The elderly woman spoke through an interpreter and asked to remain anonymous.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

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Women hold boxed packages, labeled “not for resale,” that are commonly distributed by the S.F. Food Bank. Mission Local.