One in three San Diegans struggles to afford enough to eat.
This staggering figure comes from data recently released by the San Diego Hunger Coalition. Prior to 2020 and the ravaging impacts of COVID-19, the number was one in seven.
Food is fundamental to every element of living and thriving, affecting education, health, productivity and much more. With increased unemployment and the prospect of further government delays in providing assistance, the situation will only become more dire in the coming weeks.
People of color, seniors and families with young children are disproportionally affected.
According to Jewish tradition, the most profound way we can show our own gratitude is by helping our neighbors in need.
This imperative is all the more acute this year as we prepare for a Thanksgiving like none before. Below are a few suggestions of excellent local nonprofits addressing hunger in San Diego.
Please join us in providing support.
Armed Services YMCA, Camp Pendleton
Armed Services Y’s programs target junior enlisted military members and their families, many of whom struggled to afford basic needs on low salaries prior to the pandemic. The COVID-19 economic crisis exacerbated the need for help with a sharp increase in spousal unemployment. The Y expanded its food distributions to meet the demand, serving an estimated 2,000 individuals each month.
Farm food donations are critical during COVID-19, as healthy food is harder to afford. Since March, the Farm has distributed more than 44,000 pounds of produce to more than 23,000 community members through through its on-site pay-what-you-can Farm Stand, no-cost mobile farm stands and produce delivery programs, and donations to local hunger relief organizations.
Community Resource Center (CRC)
CRC’s Food and Nutrition Center provides fresh produce and non-perishable foods daily to anyone in need through a contactless distribution. In recent months, CRC has seen a record increase in the requests for food assistance. Target groups are seniors, victims of domestic violence, immigrants and the homeless.
Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS)
JFS modified its food pantry and distribution programs, as well as its food delivery program to meet urgent needs while minimizing contact. No-touch drive-through food distributions are available daily on the JFS campus and are scheduled at other sites too. Individually-packaged frozen meals are delivered weekly to adults age 60+ and disabled younger adults.
Meals on Wheels San Diego County, North County (MOW)
Volunteers deliver individually-packaged meals throughout North County to isolated seniors who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. MOW subsidizes 60% of costs for meals, delivery, and safety checks, regardless of a senior’s ability to pay. The volunteer is often the only person the senior will see all day, with a double bottom line of reducing loneliness.
ProduceGood recovers fresh produce from local farms and citrus growers and donates it to the charitable food system to be given to those in need. The produce is critical now to meet the increased demand for food.