"I thought it was just so unique, and I mean obviously they're really busy in their work at a time like this, being first responders. So it really warmed our hearts to know that they had set aside their work to support our work," said Barbara Abbott, the vice president of the supply chain at the food bank.
Lt. Julie DeJarlais said she was sitting at fire station no. 13 in April, listening to a news report about long lines at food banks and people losing their jobs, and she knew they needed to do something.
"And the guys were like 'Yeah! What are you going to do?' And I said, let's sell a t-shirt and I'll do some masks and they're like 'yeah let's do it,' Lt. DeJarlais said.
Lt. Julie DeJarlais of the San Francisco Fire Dept. dropped off a check for $10,000 today at the Food Bank. She had the idea to create and sell t-shirts and masks to raise money for those in need during the pandemic. If you’d like one- email email@example.com pic.twitter.com/I9hQSDFLfP— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) December 10, 2020
She never dreamed they would sell so many, taking orders from as far away as Scotland.
RELATED: Mission Food Hub is helping fight COVID-19 food insecurities
"It boggles my mind that t-shirts and a little mask raised $10,000. And to be able to give these people $10,000, it's just, it's amazing. It feels really good and you know, I can't take the credit," she said.
She says it started with an idea.
"I just had an idea. Firefighters at Station 13, throughout the San Francisco Fire Department, our local 798 put stuff on their Instagram. And that's how I got people from all over the world, asking for these shirts," Lt. DeJarlais said. "I believe that kindness is contagious. So, once you get an idea and you kind of start to see it, it can grow into a huge tree. Honestly the tree that was a part of this $10,000 is massive. So, it was wonderful."
The food bank says this will make a huge difference.
"I think it's amazing. The need has never been greater in our community than at this time. That $10,000 will provide 20,000 meals in the community," Abbott said.
RELATED: List of San Francisco Bay Area food banks, pantries during coronavirus crisis
The food bank is seeing twice as many people now than it did before the pandemic started. Officials say they are planning for the impact from the pandemic to last for years.
If you would like a t-shirt or mask you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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