Sarah Huck and Linda Murley: Fighting for food security

The Richmond District is a fusion of traditions, cultures and languages. This is the rich legacy of the 16,000 seniors living in our neighborhoods. We may see our elder neighbors from a window, walking with a cane or in a losing battle with grocery bags at the store or on the bus.

It's estimated that 4,000 Richmond seniors live alone. Living independently is a dream most of us have for our older age, and accessible food, friendship and social service referrals are some of the basics of remaining independent. For the city of San Francisco, "Aging in Place" is more cost-effective than nursing homes or hospital stays.

The Richmond District Food Security Network (FSN) was founded by a partnership between the Richmond District Neighborhood Center and the Richmond Senior Center.

The FSN connects home-bound Richmond residents with groceries delivered to their doorstep, social service referrals, enhanced relationships with neighbors and friendly visitor volunteers. The program is modeled after the Community Living Campaign's efforts in the city's OMI, Park Merced and Bayview districts. The network relies on hub sites that help identify frail neighbors in need, volunteers and additional funding opportunities, as well as ensuring grocery deliveries are made.

The FSN is piloting the program with the Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church. Families and neighbors from the Katherine Delmar Burke School, Grocery Outlet, Richmond YMCA, St. John's Presbyterian Church and Starbucks have signed on to help as well!

Creation of the FSN is the direct result of findings from the SF Food Security Task Force and SF Food Bank, which generated awareness of the social service needs of seniors and disabled residents in our community.

The Richmond District Food Security Network is in the pilot stage and cannot accept additional clients until funding is secured and our infrastructure is in place. We are planning for exponential growth, and want to speak with organizations interested in joining the Food Security Network and individuals and families who wish to volunteer. For more information, please e-mail Linda Murley at [email protected].

A community awareness and fundraising event for the Food Security Network will be held on Thursday, Aug. 28, from 5:30-9 p.m., at La Promenade Café, at 3643 Balboa St. "Wine on the Westside" will be an evening of live jazz music, appetizers donated by local restaurants (including the Cliff House) and plenty of wine, courtesy of the Grocery Outlet. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite. General admis­sion tickets cost $35 and "wine lover wrist bands" are $50 and include unlimited pours.

Linda Murley is the director of the Richmond Senior Center, and Sarah Huck is the Neighborhood and Family Services Program Manager at the Richmond Village Beacon.