“Tomorrow is just another yesterday two days from now.”
– Douglas Hegdahl
The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and their North County Food Bank chapter comprise the largest hunger-relief organization in San Diego County. Last year, the Food Bank distributed 63 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 52.5 million meals. Shelly Parks serves as the Food Bank’s Senior Director of Programs, overseeing all the direct and indirect service programs the Food Bank operates to reach more than 550,000 people across the county each month.
#1 I was born and raised in Minnesota, moving to San Diego in 2004.
#2 In my patio garden, I plant milkweed to attract caterpillars and watch them grow into monarch butterflies. The life cycle and migration is so fascinating.
#3 La Paz, Baja California Sur in Mexico is my favorite travel location. Jacques Cousteau called La Paz the world’s aquarium
#4 My 2022 resolution is to create structure, but remain flexible.
#5 Hiking to Machu Picchu is on my bucket list.
#6 I wear a bracelet every day and my mom, in Minnesota, wears a matching one.
#7 When I was graduating in 2008 with my Master’s in social work with a vision to be a school social worker, my internship supervisor offered me a job overseeing a food pantry. Food security wasn’t the career path I had in mind, but I needed a job. I grew that food pantry from serving 800 households to more than 2,000. In 2014, I took that capacity growth expertise to the Food Bank. Fourteen years later I still love what I do every day.
#8 One of our Food 4 Kids backpack partners recently shared with me that they have an amazing team of students who help distribute our bags of food to the school’s students. They also help stock the pantry with the bags of food and take leadership of their role on campus. This instills humanity and a sense of purpose for their school community.
#9 Not only do we ensure food security across San Diego County, in 2017 we became the county’s Diaper Bank and are currently distributing 750,000+ diapers each month. In 2021, we added on period products, both maxi pads and tampons, to our distribution network. These most basic needs are a critical resource for budget-strapped families.