Senior Spotlight: Can Tech Help Create an Oasis in Ocean View’s Food Desert?

Judy Goddess/Ingleside-Excelsior Light

When  Ocean View Market closed in 2013, residents—particularly seniors and people with disabilities—were left without easy access to healthy, fresh food. In a partial response to the lack of options, City Hall invested $15,000 in Ana’s Market on the Broad Street to have the market stock organic produce, meats, cheeses and fresh foods. Now, technology may be a solution.

On April 22, the SF Tech Council Food Security & Digital Intervention Project and the Community Living Campaign held two community meetings at I.T. Bookman Center to gather information for a pilot project to use technology for increasing access to healthy food. Participants urged a targeted public media campaign using radio, television and The Ingleside-Excelsior Light.


Zero Divide’s McCrae Parker facilitated the meetings and will report back to the community later in the year with findings.

Grocery Delivery: Deb Glen, the Community Living Campaign’s coordinator in OMI, announced that their grocery home delivery service will move to the I.T. Bookman Center from the Ward Recreation Center.

“We’ll be changing our delivery date from Tuesdays to Wednesdays. We’ll also have meat, chicken and fish. Another big change is that we’re expanding from biweekly delivery to delivering groceries every week. That means we’ll need more volunteers to help bag groceries and more drivers.”

Users said that biweekly delivery saved them about $100 a month. Currently the program serves 65 families.

To sign up or volunteer, call Deb Glen at (415) 846-7717.

DAAS Appointment: Congratulations to Shireen McSpadden, who Mayor Ed Lee appointed as the executive director of the Department of Aging and Adult Services.

Before joining DAAS McSpadden worked with seniors and youth with disabilities. She is an experienced advocate at the state and federal levels. McSpadden has served as the acting executive director since Anne Hinton retired last fall.

In late January, she told me about the agency’s goals for the coming year.

“Isolation is a health hazard,” she said. “We need to help seniors combat isolation. We want to increase funding for senior centers, increase the capacity of the Friendship Line and the Friendly Visitors program, promote internet access among seniors and people living with disabilities and support the choir program.”

Easing the Digital Divide: Under its Internet Essentials program—initially restricted to low-income families with school-age children—Comcast has begun offering home internet service for low-income seniors (62 or older) and people with disabilities at $9.95 per month. The fee includes free installation and a Wi-Fi router.  Internet training is available online, in person and in print. For seniors without computers, Internet Essentials also offers a low-cost computer for $150.

On May 6, an exuberant crowd heard Scott Adams introduce this pilot project at an outreach event at Valencia Gardens.

“Internet Essentials addresses the digital divide by helping seniors become digital literate, and has been developed in partnership with the DAAS, the City’s SF Connected Digital Literacy training collaborative, and their three main nonprofit training partners: Self-Help for the Elderly, the Community Technology Network, and the Community Living Campaign. This is a great opportunity for local seniors. If the program works in San Francisco and several other cities, we’ll expand it nationwide.”

For more information, call Comcast at 1 (855) 804-8010.

Events Calendar: June events at the OMI Senior Center at Temple United Methodist Church, 65 Beverly Street: Philippines Independence Celebration, June 7, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.;  OMI Community of Voices choir performance June 10 at 1 p.m.; Fathers’ Day Celebration, June 17, 12:45 p.m. For more information, call (415) 334-5550.

Osher Life Long Learning Institute: starts its six-week summer session on June 6.  Six courses are available on the SFSU campus, including two watercolor courses, a collage class, and courses on Diminished Democracy and Politics of the Middle East; courses are also available at OLLI’s downtown campus.  For more information call (415) 817-4243 or

On Saturday, June 11, at 1 p.m. there will be a mural ribbon cutting and celebration. Cayuga’s Naglee Street Stairway Mural is completed and beautiful! Join your neighbors and friends to celebrate our community created work of art! We’ll have music and snacks to share and celebrate this effort!

The Cayuga Community Connectors will hold a potluck in late June with music!  More information available on Facebook Cayuga Community Connectors.


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