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SLO Food Bank merging past and current practices resulting from pandemic

Posted at 10:23 PM, Apr 12, 2021

The SLO Food Bank is planning to merge their past and current practices as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

SLO Food Bank CEO Garret Olson said, “As we return to our post-COVID realities, our ability to intake food is going to return in terms of household-scale donations.”

The SLO Food Bank is looking to take food donations soon after only taking cash donations during the pandemic.

Roughly $700,000 of food couldn’t be accepted in 2020.

Olson said, “When we return to being able to do more stuff in person then we will be able to return to those household-scale donations. When you donate a dollar to us, we’re going to turn that into seven nutritious meals.”

While the food bank is a distribution center, the implementation of a new pantry in 2020 has offered them the opportunity to connect with and cater to those in desperate need of food.

SLO Food Bank Administrative Assistant Carolyn Bird said, “When the pandemic first hit and we created this pantry, we actually noticed this is a way to have face-to-face contact with clients who receive food from us.”

Olson said, “We still accept small amounts so if somebody shows up here and they’ve got food we’re going to accept it and a lot of that food goes into our pantry.”

The pantry is typically used by people using the SLO Food Bank services for the first time.

Bird said, “When you hear their story and get to know the need of what is going on, that is what hits home for us and we’re able to share that with potential donors and community members that want to know what we’re doing here.”

Monetary donations remain the food bank’s main request from the public to assist over 60 food distribution sites in San Luis Obispo County.

SLO Food Bank “Breakfast Bag Program” for the youth has also been extended from summer to a year-round program.

For more information on donating to the SLO Food Bank visit their website at

For questions about how you can help, contact the SLO Food Bank at