PROGRAM: SAN DIEGO & NORTH COUNTY FOOD BANK
James Floros — President and CEO
James Floros thanked CHNR for its support of the San Diego Food Bank, which includes the North County Food Bank, explaining that the demand for food has skyrocketed as a result of the pandemic. Those in need are not just the homeless, but children living in poverty, working-poor families, those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, young active-duty military families, seniors living on a fixed income—and more
Prior to Covid, the two food banks were providing food to approximately 350,000 a month. Now, the number is closer to 600,000. In Fiscal Year 2018-2019, the food banks distributed 32 million pounds of food (the equivalent of 1,230 semi-truck loads); in the last fscal year, ending June 30, he said 43 million pounds of food were distributed. He said they are fully expecting that the demand for food will be even higher for this November and December due to the new pandemic shutdown and more jobs being lost.
 
The San Diego and North County food banks do not prepare meals; they distribute food stuffs to 500 agencies in the county, who then distribute it to those in need.
When the pandemic hit, the SD Food Bank moved ahead in three phases: 1. Remove any existing barriers (ie: get as much food out as fast as possible); 2. reach out to homebound seniors, and set up mass distribution sites; and 3. establish Super Pantrys around the county, as well as the Mobile Pantry fleet to reach those who do not have access to transportation. Volunteers have been fantastic, Floros said. “San Diego has rallied....we have had 24,000 volunteer visits just since the start of Covid.” Those interested in volunteering can contact SanDiegoFoodBank.org (See CHNR’s volunteer opportunity this Friday under Community Service, above). If you know of someone or a family in need of food, go to SanDiegoFoodBank.org/GetHelp.