Beginning in 1989, on a regular weekly basis, a staff of volunteers has collected and distributed in excess of 4 million pounds of food to over 86 thousand families. This food has been distributed to families in targeted neighborhoods within San Francisco, Alameda and Marin counties, and since 2001, in Siskiyou County.
On one day every week after volunteers collect, sort and box up the food donations, a loaded vehicle drives into the neighborhood and distributes the family-sized food boxes to the residents on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition, volunteers and neighborhood people help carry and deliver the food boxes to mothers with infants or young children, shut-ins and the elderly.
Free the Need operates an expanded food program for both Thanksgiving and the December Holidays. The majority of the food is donated by produce market vendors and local grocers. For the 2016 holiday events, 850 food boxes were distributed. Averaging 50 pounds, boxes contained fresh produce, canned and dry goods, bread, coffee and a large fresh turkey for a healthy holiday meal at home.