Continuing to Feed Record Numbers

Despite recent improvements in the economy and the lifting of California’s pandemic restrictions last summer, tens of thousands of families throughout San Diego County continue to struggle with food insecurity and will rely on help from the Food Bank this winter.

For many families, it will take a long time to fully recover from the financial impacts of the pandemic. Currently, families served by the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank are facing a number of challenges including: unpaid rent and an end to eviction moratorium; household debt acquired during pandemic to make ends meet; rising food costs due to inflation being at a 40-year high; and San Diego County’s high cost of living which was a widespread problem even before the pandemic.

The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and its North County Food Bank chapter continue to feed record numbers of people. Currently, the Food Bank is feeding an average of 550,000 per month through its network of 500 nonprofit partners, its 200 direct food distributions and through its 35 Super Pantries which are high-volume distribution hubs open throughout the week.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 through January 2022, the Food Bank has distributed approximately 100 million pounds of food which is the equivalent of 83 million meals. This was only possible thanks to donations from the community which enabled the Food Bank to purchase food to meet the exponential increase in need.

“Prior to the start of the pandemic, the Food Bank was feeding, on average, nearly 350,000 people every month – about 11% of the county’s population. The majority of the Food Bank’s pre-pandemic service population consisted of working-poor families living paycheck to paycheck and fixed-income seniors struggling to get by on Social Security. Now, due to the lasting impacts of the pandemic on low-income families, the Food Bank continues to feed record numbers of people in communities throughout San Diego County including families who only started accessing the Food Bank’s services for the first time during the pandemic,” Casey Castillo, Interim CEO of the San Diego Food Bank shared with GB Magazine. “We are expecting to see a sustained high level of demand for food assistance for the foreseeable future since it will take a considerable amount of time for families to get back on their feet.”

The Food Bank supplies food to San Diego County’s charitable food network through a hub and spoke model where 500 nonprofits receive food from the San Diego Food Bank’s 90,000-square-foot warehouse in Miramar and the North County Food Bank’s 40,000-square foot warehouse in Vista. The Food Banks’ member nonprofits include food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, low-income day care centers and senior centers. Currently, the Food Bank supplies food for more than 200 scheduled food distributions every month throughout the County.

While the Food Bank continues to serve record numbers of people, the nonprofit is asking the community to continue to support its mission by donating online, hosting a virtual food drive, or by volunteering at its Vista and Miramar warehouse locations. For more information visit www.SanDiegoFoodBank.org or www.NorthCountyFoodBank.org.