Last Saturday, on Armed Forces Day, Feeding San Diego and Courage to Call hosted a distribution to support military families across San Diego County facing hunger. We provided 600 boxes of food, an increase from 400 boxes at last month’s distribution, due to the increased need. It was a drive-through, no-touch distribution, similar to the hundreds of distributions currently provided by Feeding San Diego across the county.

This distribution was part of Feeding San Diego’s Feeding Heroes initiative, which serves local veterans and active duty military families struggling with hunger. Through partnerships with organizations like Courage to Call, the initiative reaches people in need on or near base without stigma or unnecessary bureaucracy, in military housing areas and in public schools serving a high percentage of military families. “Feeding San Diego is committed to supporting families of active duty military and veterans when they face hard times,” said Vince Hall, CEO of Feeding San Diego.

“Providing military families and veterans with nutritious meals is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful to partner with incredible organizations like Courage to Call.” San Diego County has the largest concentration of military and veterans in the country. According to the San Diego County Office of Military & Veterans Affairs, the total number of residents in the County of San Diego associated with the military is over 1.2 million, which is 37 percent of the population. This total is expected to grow by 15,000 within the next three years as five additional ships will be homeported in San Diego.

“As a veteran myself, I know first-hand the struggles our service members and their families face,” says RanDee McLain, Program Manager at Courage to Call. Mental Health Systems and the Courage to Call program are dedicated to serving our military-affiliated community and food distributions are one way we can continue to give back.”

The drive-through distribution took place at 8800 Grossmont College Dr. in El Cajon.