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We Wanna Be Friends With: SF-Marin Food Bank's Paul Ash

Photo Credit: Blain Johnson

Our city is chock-full of interesting people and wild personalities. Overwhelmed by the coolness? Every week we'll pick one standout local we'd love to be friends with to answer seven essential questions about their life in San Francisco.

When Paul Ash took over as the executive director of the SF Food Bank in 1989, the organization was distributing 3 million pounds of food a year. Today they send out an incredible 46 million pounds of food to San Francisco and Marin, making our food bank the largest distributor of fresh produce per person in poverty in the country!

We were pretty shocked to learn that one in four residents of SF and Marin struggles to make ends meet, which is why the incredible work Paul and team are doing at the food bank is so important. By working with 450 partnering organizations, including 240 farmers market-style pantries, the food bank is able to support over 30,000 families a week in our community with fresh food.

Huge kudos to Paul and his team for making the SF-Marin Food Bank such a successful organization, and high five to Paul for being a mega charmer (see answer #3!) and taking the time to answer our We Wanna Be Friends With Q&A.

1. What neighborhood do you currently call home? Would you ever move or are you happy in your 'hood?  

Oakland’s Rockridge. I moved so many times as a kid (9 times by 8th grade) that staying in Rockridge with the warm weather, good eats and access to recreation seems pretty sweet.

2. What's your hands-down, absolute favorite thing to eat in the East Bay?

A moving target with so many options – right now it’s the Spanish fare at Duende; Spanish wife - Spanish food.

3. What's your perfect night on the town?

Trying a new restaurant or an old favorite like Camino; catching a movie or hanging out with friends back at our house. Dinner and a movie can be a pretty big night when you’re in love!

4. When you need a low-key afternoon, where do you go for down time?

A hike with my son Ethan and our Boston Terrier at Sibley Preserve or a bike ride on Grizzly Peak.

5. What's your favorite place to go on a day trip from Berkeley?

Visiting friends in a quieter part of the Napa Valley or kayaking in Drakes Bay. 

6. Quick-fire round:

Burrito or Burger?

Burrito – preferably carnitas.

Fenton's or Ici Ice Cream?

Ici – big flavor – fewer calories than a Black and Tan Sundae.

Lake Merritt or Lake Temescal?

Dog likes Temescal – the hilly unpaved path.

The Paramount or The Fox Theater?   

Paramount – so many memories of fantastic artists and speakers.

Bakesale Betty's or Brown Sugar Kitchen? 

Bakesale Betty’s – those Jalapenos!

First Fridays or The Oakland Museum?

Oakland Museum, says so much about the history that made California.

Shopping on Telegraph or in Temescal? 

You find something new on Telegraph every time you drive by or walk through – last week I went into a store for urban bee keepers.

7. Three words that describe your life in Oakland?

Relaxed, Alive, Energizing.

Want More SF-Marin Food Bank?

Volunteer opportunities to help at both SF-Marin Food Bank locations are available days and evenings, seven days a week. (Children welcome, especially during the Sunday shift.) Website, Facebook, Twitter