Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Albert at saint teresa of calcutta villa

Father Joe’s Villages and its donors are working to put food on the table


With inflation affecting everything from grocery prices to housing costs, now is a critical time to support organizations that serve those most in need in San Diego.

It is estimated that nearly one in three San Diego County residents experiences food insecurity. Father Joe’s Villages, the county’s largest homeless services provider, is working to address that. Every day, Father Joe’s Villages’ initiatives including the Emergency Food Pantry and Food Services Program provide meals to thousands of San Diegans, including those experiencing homelessness or those facing nutrition insecurity.


The San Diego Hunger Coalition estimates that one in three county residents – more than 1 million people – face nutrition insecurity. And, sadly, those experiencing homelessness in San Diego increased by 10 percent in 2022, as compared to January 2020.


That is why Father Joe’s Villages and Mission Federal Credit Union are teaming up for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, an annual awareness program that runs from November 12 – 20. The goal of the designated week is to reflect on the need in our community and commit to supporting solutions through volunteerism, event participation, donations and awareness. Father Joe’s Villages’ efforts to provide good, nutritious food to those in need is even more critical now as inflation and rising grocery store prices affect San Diegans like Albert.


Albert, a resident of Father Joe’s Villages’ newest affordable housing community in the East Village Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa, attributes the organization’s food pantry with helping him face rising costs. “The program helps me supplement my income because I don’t have to spend so much on food,” he shared. “It also provides nutritious food that is not spoiled.”


This year, Father Joe’s Villages is distributing more than 2,000 food boxes per month through its Emergency Food Pantry, more than doubling the number served monthly in 2021. Its Food Services Program also serves warm nutritious meals to those in its Emergency Housing, Bridge Shelters and Transitional Housing programs, as well as those living unsheltered in our community. “With inflation affecting costs across the board, our food initiatives are becoming even more important,” Deacon Jim Vargas, Father Joe’s Villages President and CEO shared with GB Magazine. “We are blessed to be able to provide food to help San Diegans prevent or exit homelessness.”


However, Father Joe’s Villages could not provide its expansive list of services without the generosity and compassion of donors. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for example, recently provided 24 pallets of nonperishable food – alongside other items – to Father Joe’s Villages.


“A phone call was received from Father Joe’s Village with a desperate cry for help. They were almost out of food and asked if there was anything the Church of Jesus Christ could do,” said Becky Davies, Church Communications Director. “Within the week, two truckloads of food from LDS Humanitarian Services were on their way to Father Joe’s Villages. These two organizations have built up a cooperative and trusting relationship over many years of serving the needs of San Diegans.”

“It takes the whole community to make the village work,” Deacon Jim added. “You cannot put all the work on one person.”

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Esteban Villanueva