Our Story

Four friends with a dream became the founding team
How It Started
Imagine a world of sharing surplus

Free the Need was started in 1989 by a group of friends who wanted to improve the welfare of families and children in their area. Founded on the idea that there is enough to go around, they recognized the availability of surplus food and goods in the greater Bay Area and that it was just a matter of getting it to people, so that’s where Free the Need came in. Loading their cars at the South San Francisco Produce Market, sorting it on their front lawn, and boxing it up and distributing it into local neighborhoods to families that were struggling to make ends meet was the beginning of Free the Need.

How We Grew
Expanding our reach to Siskiyou

When a core group of volunteers moved to Siskiyou County, one of the most underserved counties in California, it was a natural extension to start a chapter in the area. We knew the impact would be great: because of the rural nature of the area, many people living below the poverty level live in isolated, outlying areas. Free the Need reaches out to these people through community volunteers who pick up boxes for themselves and others in their area.

It’s people helping people.

Where We're Headed
Growing a model of sustainable giving

For 33 years, Free the Need has succeeded in our sustainable model of giving. Now, it’s time for expansion. For years we have gotten by with borrowed vehicles and donated temporary space and since we’re all about using what is surplus, this has worked well for us. However, constantly changing locations and seeking new vehicles inhibits the full potential of this organization.

That’s why we have bigger goals than ever: we want a warehouse in San Francisco and a new truck with a 5,000 lb. capacity.

Acquiring a permanent space and a new vehicle will impact the stability and effectiveness of Free the Need, but it will have an even greater impact on the communities we serve. Storage of perishable and non-perishable goods and accessibility of donated items through a Free Store will allow us to provide even more services to local communities and a new vehicle will ensure we are able to distribute with consistency and expediency.

Help make our future a reality

Our work isn't done and we have dreams of an even wider impact
A warehouse space in San Francisco would allow for increased program stability, additional services, and would allow us to serve three times the number of families each week– that’s a huge impact!
A new truck would allow us to put more surplus to use, divert more potential waste from landfill, deliver to more families, and expand our reach.
Have a space or truck you would like to donate? Contact us!

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