ABOUT FEEDING SAN DIEGO
Feeding San Diego (FSD) is the future of hunger relief, changing the way nonprofits address hunger. FSD is the leading hunger relief organization in the county, providing 26 million meals with dignity to San Diego residents facing hunger last year. We are the only Feeding America affiliate in the region, and have been innovating new logistical, technological, and relationship-building solutions to the problem of food insecurity since 2007. Focused on healthy food, education, and advocacy, FSD is building a hunger-free and healthy San Diego through innovative programs and collaborative partnerships.
How Feeding San Diego Works
FSD provides food and resources to a network of more than 260 neighborhood partners serving 63,000 children, families and seniors each week. We build partnerships within the food industry:
- Grocery stores (Albertson’s, Barons, Food4Less,Ralph’s, Smart & Final, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc.)
- Retailers (Costco, Starbucks, Target, Walmart, etc.)
We rescue their excess food–food that is nearing the end of its shelf life, is a small lot, has damaged packaging, or is so-called “ugly produce,” that which is too small or too large, or that has scratches or blemishes. Sometimes there’s nothing at all “wrong” with the food, but the owner was unable to find a market for the product. Our food industry partners save money while doing good for the community, and can enjoy financial incentives as well. As we source the food, we immediately redirect it to our neighborhood partners:
- Schools and seven college campuses
- Senior centers
- Faith communities
- Social service agencies and
- Community groups
All these partners are directly connected to neighbors in need. More than half the food we secure never comes to our warehouse. Instead, it is captured by our neighborhood partners and immediately distributed, preserving freshness, saving resources, and providing varied and wholesome food for the nearly half a million San Diegans facing food insecurity. Our partners distribute the food, farmers market-style, to people right in their own communities. People get to choose the food they like and will eat, and in the quantities that meet their needs. Many distributions feel like a community event, and a number of people consider it a social outing where they get to connect with friends and meet new people who live in their neighborhood.
In addition to rescuing high quality food, Feeding San Diego has a team to make sure people have access to food. We help hundreds of people enroll to receive CalFresh (food stamps) benefits each year. [Qué es CalFresh?] We also have farmers market style distributions at 40 school pantries across the county, getting nutritious food to low-income students and their families, and send 16 mobile food trucks to underserved neighborhoods, mostly rural, that have high poverty rates. And we recently started food distributions at 7 San Diego college campuses to address the fact that 56% of students experience low or very low food security.
Health and Nutrition
With nearly half of San Diego residents – 1.6 million people – considered overweight or obese, people facing hunger not only need more food to eat, they need healthier food. Other chronic diseases and health issues linked to hunger are prevalent among those served by Feeding San Diego, including 32 percent of households containing a member with diabetes and 40 percent lacking health insurance. To reduce the risk and impact of these health factors for those we serve, FSD focuses on distributing healthy and fresh foods along with appropriate nutrition education.
As the largest domestic hunger relief organization in the United States, Feeding America represents more than 200 member food banks across the country. Operating as an independent nonprofit organization, FSD’s membership ensures high operational efficiency and allows us to access donated product and professional resources.
As one of the newest food banks in the Feeding America network, Feeding San Diego’s first distribution was held on October 9, 2007 in the parking lot at San Diego Rescue Mission, now one of our neighborhood partners. Several weeks later, San Diego County suffered from disastrous firestorms that displaced hundreds of thousands of individuals. In the first week of the fire with only two employees, FSD secured and delivered 515,000 pounds of emergency supplies, including food, water, and other grocery items, to evacuees, firefighters and volunteers.
Special thanks to Red Cross, Salvation Army, Father Joe’s Villages, Catholic Charities, Rock Church, San Diego Rescue Mission, Homeland Security, FEMA, City of San Diego, County of San Diego and other nonprofit agencies who supported our efforts during the firestorms and early stages of our development.
In February of 2008, FSD moved into a 30,000-square-foot warehouse to better serve families in need. Later in 2010, the organization relocated to a new 50,000-square-foot distribution center in Sorrento Valley and quickly emerged as the leading hunger-relief organization in the county the following year. We’re still there, keeping pallets of good food–85% of it produce–moving in and out of our distribution center every week of the year.