At Dewey Elementary in San Diego, where most kids have military parents, the line forms early at the food pantry for free produce, snacks and staples like bread.
San Diego is home to several military bases and thousands of currently serving and retired service members. As a part of the San Diego community, and in partnership with local military organizations, Feeding San Diego seeks to serve and support members of our military and veterans when they face hard times. To meet this need, we provide food to partner agencies and schools who serve members of our military, veterans and their families.
The Feeding Heroes initiative reaches every corner of the county — on or near base, in military housing areas, and in public schools serving a high percentage of military families. Through a dignified farmers’ market style distribution where individuals select the foods that are best for their needs, military families can access fresh, nutritious food, especially fruits and vegetables, without stigma or unnecessary bureaucracy.
In fiscal year 2018, Feeding San Diego provided more than 667,000 meals to military families through Feeding Heroes, reaching over 93,000 individuals. In the first three quarters of fiscal year 2019, we provided 634,754 meals through this initiative. On average, over half of the food we distribute through Feeding Heroes is fresh produce.
Feeding San Diego holds distributions with partner organizations that directly serve military families, including the USO, US4Warriors, San Diego Military Outreach Ministries, Courage to Call, and others. The food we supply to our partner agency, Jewish Family Service, reaches a food pantry at Camp Pendleton, Armed Forces YMCA, the Murphy Canyon military housing complex, and other military housing sites. By connecting to families through resources already affiliated with the military, we can quickly and efficiently provide a comfortable, high-dignity experience for those in need.
The Feeding San Diego School Pantry program reaches families with children in their own neighborhoods and on their own schedules at 40 local K-12 campuses. A portion of our School Pantry sites, including Dewey Elementary, Perry Elementary, and Angier Elementary, focus on areas where high concentrations of military families live. Targeted areas with specific needs were identified through a survey and analysis conducted by Feeding San Diego.
Serving predominantly rural areas, especially in the north and east counties of San Diego, the Mobile Pantry program delivers food to underserved neighborhoods that have a high incidence of poverty and lack consistent access to full-service grocery stores or other sources of fresh, healthy food. The Mobile Pantry distributions that are included in the Feeding Heroes initiative serve military families and community members at sites near Camp Pendleton.
Feeding San Diego is proud to be recognized by The Patriots Connection for doing the finest work to most effectively support our local military communities.