San Francisco’s ‘Mayor of Mission’ helps those struggling to survive the pandemic – CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – The San Francisco man named Mayor of Mission County is known for opposing evictions and was the driving force behind the carnival and parade that KPIX 5 sponsored. But that’s not the only reason why he’s a Silver Medal winner of the Jefferson Prize.

People come to Roberto Hernández with their problems, like a woman came to at the beginning of the pandemic.

“In tears, she told me she had lost her job after 33 years,” Hernández said.

He says she has no allowance and only one day’s worth of food to feed her widowed daughter and five grandchildren.

“It broke my heart,” he said.

So he started Mission Food Hub. He recruited 100 volunteers to provide food to needy families, and stored the donated food in his garage.


“That’s not sustainable at all” because the calls keep coming in, the demand keeps growing,” Hernández said.

So when Carnaval was cancelled, Hernández asked sponsors to transfer festival funds to Mission Food Hub.

More than 9,000 families now receive food boxes each week thanks to donations and funds from fundraisers, foundations and government grants.

“The people who work the hardest — the maids, the cleaners, the gardeners — they don’t get taken care of. And that’s what we’re taking care of here,” said Hernández.

People line up in rows as hundreds of volunteers pack and distribute food three times a week at a warehouse on Alabama Street and at two dozen other locations in the Bayview Valley, Excelsior neighborhoods , Tenderloin and Visitacion.

The driver also delivers food to the elderly and those who have been quarantined with COVID.

Volunteer Connie Rivera relied on the food center to feed her family of 5 after the shelter closed her retail store.

“I have no money, no savings, nothing at all,” Rivera said.

She says Hernández has gone to great lengths to make the food popular in their culture as an ingredient for carne asada.

“He would come and ask, ‘What do you like? “” said Rivera.

LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION: Jefferson Award for Public Service

Hernández also partnered with the Latino Task Force to provide hundreds of thousands of masks, cleaning products, COVID tests, vaccines, and help with hiring and unemployment assistance.

Volunteer coordinator Rosine Garcia said it’s not uncommon for him to be called the Mayor of the Mission.

“He snapped his fingers and everything happened. He really is like a little magician,” said Garcia.

“Being served is the best thing one can do. And I’m so lucky to be able to do that all my life,” Hernández said.

So, in his decades of serving his community and feeding thousands of families each week through the Mission Food Hub, this 2022 Jefferson Award Silver Medal goes to Roberto Hernández. San Francisco’s ‘Mayor of Mission’ helps those struggling to survive the pandemic – CBS San Francisco

Dustin Huang

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