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Crime-ridden San Francisco opens 'free' taxpayer-funded grocery store
Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Crime-ridden San Francisco opens 'free' taxpayer-funded grocery store

$5.5M grant finances 'Food Empowerment Market' amid rampant retail theft.

Crime-ridden San Francisco recently opened its first “Food Empowerment Market,” which offers residents “free” groceries funded by taxpayers.

A Tuesday press release from Mayor London Breed’s (D) office announced the grand opening of the District 10 Community Market in Bayview-Hunters Point. The 4,000-square foot store is part of a pilot program providing “free and healthy multi-cultural groceries” to residents “experiencing food insecurity in the Southeast corridor of the City.”

'If we didn’t tell you it was free you’d think you’d have to pay.'

San Francisco Human Services Agency granted Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services a $5.5 million taxpayer-funded grant to stock the market with fresh produce. According to the city, the market will serve approximately 4,500 residents.

Breed called the grand opening of the pilot location “a major step toward improving food access in a part of the City that has historically been a food desert.”

“Equitable access to fresh and healthy food options is critical for communities to thrive and to ensure we take care of the City’s most vulnerable residents,” Breed added.

Many grocery stores in the area have shuttered in large part due to high crime, particularly retail theft fueled by the rampant drug use and homelessness crisis. The closures recently prompted progressive lawmakers to propose a bill allowing residents to sue grocery stores that shutter without providing the community with a six-month notice.

The market is open to residents of three San Francisco zip codes who receive public assistance, are referred by a community organization, and have dependents under 25 or have a qualified diet-related illness.

Eligible residents will receive a grocery card from a nonprofit within the market’s referral network. Unlike food banks, which offer pre-packaged kits, residents will be able to peruse the aisles and select the groceries they would like.

In addition to the taxpayer-funded grant, the market also relies on donations from grocery stores for shelf-stable items, the Center Square reported.

Trent Rhorer, the executive director of SFHSA, stated, “Food Empowerment Markets, like the Community Market pilot that we are celebrating today, provide dignity and choice for people who experience food insecurity.”

“By offering families and people with dietary restrictions the ability to choose healthy and culturally appropriate food options for themselves, rather than receiving food boxes that may not be tailored to their individual food choices and needs, we minimize food waste while also providing a better experience for residents,” Rhorer remarked.

Geoffrea Morris, a senior consultant for the District 10 Market, told the Center Square that the market is meant to serve as “a supplemental source for food.”

“Food stamps should be the primary source. This is a supplemental source especially close to the end of the month when families are facing the pain, especially with inflation,” Morris stated. “If we didn’t tell you it was free you’d think you’d have to pay.”

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →