Rescuing Food with Feeding San Diego

Asi cougar pantry at cal state university san marcos

Feed People, Not Landfills

Have you ever thought about what happens to the food on grocery store shelves once it is nearing the expiration date? What do farmers do if a buyer cancels an order of thousands of pounds of produce? What do food companies do if they cannot sell products because the packaging is damaged?

The answer to all these questions is the same. Feeding San Diego rescues that food.

Food goes to waste every day in America. In fact, according to ReFED, in 2022 the U.S. let 38% of the 235 million tons in our food supply go unsold or uneaten. This is while millions of people experience food insecurity. Here in San Diego County, Feeding San Diego is working to address this problem. The organization is not your typical food bank. The hunger-relief organization has an extensive food rescue network that extends to grocery stores, farms, and food manufacturers – making sure food gets to people in need and does not go to waste. Last year, the organization rescued more than 31 million pounds of food.

Since its establishment by philanthropist Gwendolyn Sontheim in 2007, Feeding San Diego has operated in this manner. However, with the introduction of a new California law that mandates food rescue and the growing urgency of climate change, food rescue is now in the spotlight more than ever. Feeding San Diego manages around 875 picks-ups of food donations every week at grocery stores alone. By keeping food in the area where it can be rescued directly by a local partner, food is kept fresher. It speeds up the time from donation to distribution.

Every Tuesday, a volunteer food rescue driver picks up a bright orange Feeding San Diego van and sets off to rescue food from four separate locations. One of the stops is Costco in San Marcos. The donations then travel just under three miles to stock the ASI Cougar Pantry at Cal State University San Marcos versus coming to Feeding San Diego in Sorrento Valley. This is just one of the nearly 900 pickups that happen every week to benefit San Diegans experiencing food insecurity.

By keeping food from going to waste, Feeding San Diego is ensuring that people facing hunger – including college students, families, seniors, and active-duty military families and veterans – have access to nutritious meals. An added benefit of this model is that food does not end up in the landfill, where it generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas and major contributor to climate change.

Feeding San Diego needs the community’s support to keep its hunger-relief and food rescue programs operating year-round. This month, your donation to Feeding San Diego doubles to help rescue twice the produce to help support our neighbors in bringing home nutritious meals. Whether you give funds or your time, your donation helps people and the planet. It helps feed people, not landfills.

To donate or sign up to volunteer, visit


Feeding san diego mobile pantry

feeding san Diego mobile pantry and their mission is ending hunger through food

author avatar
Kamran Saeed