10 Things About Vanessa Ruiz &
San Diego Food Bank


“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank has been around since 1977. As the largest hunger-relief organization in San Diego County, the Food Bank will partner with over 500 nonprofit organizations to help distribute over 60 million pounds of food this year to families in need. 17 years ago, Vanessa Ruiz started working at the San Diego Food Bank as the front desk receptionist and has worked her way up to her current role as Vice President of Operations.

10 Things About Vanessa Ruiz & San Diego Food Bank

#1 I am a native San Diegan! I was born in Chula Vista and was raised in Spring Valley.


#2 I do not ever see myself leaving San Diego. However, if I had to live anywhere else my second choice would be Aruba.


#3 I am definitely a night owl. Perhaps if I start drinking coffee, I will become a morning person one day!


#4 I have two pets: a sulcate tortoise named Dinero (money in Spanish) and an American Pit bull terrier named Rubix.


#5 I have always been interested in music and dream of the day I can master the art of playing the piano.

#6 I believe there is no greater reward than being of service to others.


#7 I enjoy volunteering as the Board Chair of both the San Diego Food System Alliance as well as Bayside Community Center in Linda Vista.


#8 If I could create one law, it would be that nutritious food is accessible to everyone regardless of income status.


#9 At the start of the pandemic, the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank hosted large-scale drive-thru distributions throughout San Diego County. At one event, a family lined up 3 hours before the distribution. The driver was a middle-aged man accompanied by his three young daughters. As the father drove through the line where they would receive over 60 pounds of fresh produce, canned goods, and toilet paper, he put down his window and said, “Thank you so much for everything you are about to give me and my family. I just lost my job at a local restaurant and I am a single father. This is going to help us so much!” The family proceeded to the start of the food line where staff and volunteers saw the kids holding up handwritten signs against the windshield that said “thank you”.


#10 The Food Bank is now serving over 600,000 people a month – up 70% over 2019. Families are being helped across the county every single day. Our work will not be over until we end hunger in San Diego County.



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Esteban Villanueva