Stepping Up in Time of Crisis
Before the coronavirus global pandemic, one in eight people in San Diego County, including one in six children, faced hunger. Now with the unprecedented business and school closures, social distancing policies, wage loss and economic disruptions to our community, hunger is on the rise.
Feeding San Diego is working around the clock to respond to the rapidly increasing need for food assistance throughout the community. The organization has implemented drive-through food distributions, launched regional emergency sites, increased food at rural mobile panties and is working closely with community partners and school districts to provide meals for children and families affected by school closures. In March, Feeding San Diego increased meals provided through its distribution center by 51 percent compared to the prior year, while experiencing a 66 percent decline in local food rescue.
“What we see at our distributions is more than the distribution of food. We see the distribution of hope and the distribution of optimism that we can get through this by working together to provide the resources our neighbors need to keep their families nourished,” Vince Hall, CEO of Feeding San Diego shared with GB Magazine.
Feeding San Diego is on a mission to connect every person facing hunger with nutritious meals – more than 26 million meals were provided throughout San Diego County last year. Due to COVID-19, it has become more difficult to source food through traditional methods, with retailers experiencing greatly reduced inventories, restaurants forced to close and catering events canceled. As a result, Feeding San Diego has modified its sourcing methods and significantly increased the amount of purchased food. In March, Feeding San Diego bought 36 truckloads of food, which is more than the organization normally purchases in one year.
To meet this unparalleled challenge, Feeding San Diego established a COVID-19 Response Fund to support local efforts to provide critical nutrition for children, families, seniors, veterans, military families and people facing homelessness throughout San Diego County. Gwendolyn M. Sontheim, Board Chair of Feeding San Diego, and the Aqualia International Foundation LTD, are generously matching gifts to the Feeding San Diego COVID-19 Response Fund, up to $1 million. Gifts to the fund double the impact to help San Diegans access enough nutritious food to endure this devastating crisis.
The organization has received an outpouring of support from individuals, corporations and foundations, including leadership contributions from Price Philanthropies, Feeding America, the Steve and Sharron MacDonald Family Foundation, The San Diego Foundation and The Vertex Foundation. In addition, a number of benefit campaigns were launched to raise awareness of the astounding need and support Feeding San Diego with financial gifts, including SwitchFoot/BroAm, San Diego Loyal SC, Bill Walton/Bike 4 Humanity, Kendra Scott, Perfect Snacks, Zofia Day and many others.
This is a time of solidarity. COVID-19 may require us to stand 6 feet apart, but San Diego County is coming together to meet the needs of countless people facing hunger.