Since the start of the pandemic, it is no secret that food banks across the country are raking in millions of dollars in new and unrestricted donations. Of course, there are also new costs. Still, food bank leaders across the country must balance the increased need for PPE and Food, workers health and community nourishment, retaining staff and increase services. Where will food bank leaders place their values?
The San Francisco Marin Food Bank received a $2 to $5 million dollar loan to cover worker payrolls for 8 weeks. The loan was approved on April 11th and is forgiven only if the number of FTEs stay at previous levels. It seems that the food bank is not meeting the terms of the loan because it continue to fire staff without union representation. For example, the recent firing of Rich (more information here). During a time when food bankers are more essential than ever, and the food bank has a windfall of new cash to pay those payroll expenses, why would it so flagrantly fire staff while hoarding it’s financial resources?
The SBA (www.sba.gov) has released the data. You can explore the recipients of those loans over at the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/business/sba-ppp-data/
Can we expect accountability from the Food Bank? Will they report to their lenders that they have fired numerous staff since the start of the pandemic?
Furthermore, as Food Bankers continue to put their health and safety on the line for the organization and the communities we serve, we should be asking why the Food Bank, with so many new financial resources, refuses to give staff a living wage.