Building Stronger Communities Meal by Meal
When people think of charitable food programs, what often comes to mind is donated cereal, canned goods or other non-perishables. However, food banks have a presence in the community that delivers much more than meals. As the new CEO of The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, Casey Castillo can attest these initiatives give people the opportunity to make a real impact and help break the cycle of poverty.
What is your history with the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank?
I have been with the San Diego Food Bank for more than 14 years, mostly serving as its CFO and VP of Administration – with responsibilities over finance, accounting, human resources, IT and facilities. I also served as the interim CEO three times over that time span, which afforded me the chance to supervise all departments and Food Bank activities. I am confident that this makes me well-equipped to lead this amazing organization into the future.
What does your new role as CEO entail?
Ultimately, I will be working with the board of directors to ensure that the Food Bank is fulfilling its mission to provide nutritious meals to people in need, advocate for the hungry, and educate the public about hunger-related issues. This will be accomplished by setting a clear vision for the organization and by pursuing our collective goals.
How does the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank support San Diego community?
For 45 years, we have served as an independent, progressive leader in the area of hunger-relief, distributing millions of pounds of food through a network of nearly 500 non-profit partners countywide. We have honed our programs to serve the most vulnerable populations in our region, including seniors living on fixed incomes, low-income families and children living in poverty. Focusing on the root causes of poverty, the San Diego Food Bank has recently added programs and partnerships that move beyond simply providing food. We are proud to be a fully-fledged Diaper Bank and we recently established a Period Supply Program. Currently, we are serving 500,000 people per month, ensuring that hungry individuals and families across San Diego County are able to put food on the table.
How do you stay true to your mission?
Delivering millions of pounds of nutritious food is what we do. But supplying food alone is not enough – our guiding principle must be to meet the greater needs of our clients. For example, we will create and maintain programs and services that recognize that our client base is diverse, with unique needs and varying obstacles to overcome. We know that a lack of access to diapers and period products can result in regular absences from both work and school – inhibiting a person’s ability to provide for themselves and for their families. Ultimately, these kinds of unmet needs can further an individual’s economic challenges and prevent them from building better futures through education and consistent employment.