Vendor Steps in to Help Student Food Market Bolster Supplies

By Robert Hood on May 07, 2020


When Karim Salgado heard that the Student Food Market, part of the Basic Needs and Food Security Initiative at UC San Francisco, was experiencing food shortages, she jumped in to help.

“I offered my services because I’m able to get food at wholesale prices through Sysco,” said Salgado, the owner/manager at Carmelina’s Taqueria in the Parnassus food court. She reached out to Kathy Chew, the program coordinator at UCSF Student Life, and they went to work.

Salgado contacted her Sysco representative, Carol Connolly, and asked her for a list of goods that are individually wrapped and could easily be handed out to students at the UCSF Student Food Market. “We are currently ordering a lot of dried goods such as pasta and cereals,” Salgado said. “Sysco delivers food for the students every Thursday.”

Chew said the Student Food Market normally receives its food from the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, but since the COVID-19 outbreak began, the Food Bank’s own resources have been stretched. Approximately 150 students per week receive pre-packaged grocery bags which include potatoes, carrots, onions and other fresh produce, and non-perishable goods. “We’ve been ordering our dried goods such as cereal, pasta, and oatmeal from Sysco. We try to place a weekly order because we realize that there may be periods of food shortage and we want to stay ahead.”

Chew said the Student Food Market normally receives its food from the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank but since COVID-19, the food bank has had periodic shortages. “If the food bank provides a large amount of food on any given week, the items from Sysco can be held for a future date,” she said.

Chew said the market has seen a small increase in the number of students reaching out for help since shelter-in-place began, because some students have lost income and getting access to food is more difficult now.

“Students are not coming to campus for health reasons or they’ve relocated,” she said. “There is still a need but the numbers aren’t as high as before shelter-in-place.”

Chew said she is very appreciative of Salgado helping to place orders during these challenging times. “Finding items to help ensure our students are more food secure can be a challenge,” Chew said. “We are very grateful for this partnership.”