San Diego Nonprofit Food Distributors Face Increasing Demand

Food Banks, The Pantry, and other hunger relief organizations are straining to meet American’s needs.

San Diego Food demands are at an all time high as job losses, home foreclosure and homelessness rises.

SD Food Bank distributes relief for hunger through channels around the country relying on churches and community center outlets to reach those in need. Requests for staples plus supplies of fresh vegetables and fruits to those in need have increased dramatically during this ailing economy.

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Record Need

The San Diego Food Bank is distributing the most food it has ever delivered during its 33-years in existence. 15.3 million pounds have been dispensed this fiscal year, that’s a 56% increase.

Areas Requesting Additional Food Increases:

Lemon Grove 436%

Vista 368%

Imperial Beach 234%

Spring Valley 219%

Ramona 80%

San Diego proper 72%

San Marcos 61%

Jacumba 55%

National City 52%

Drastically increased demands are unlikely to decrease in the near future, if at all, according to Food Bank Chairman Mitch Mitchell. When Mitchell took over in 2006 the Food Bank was providing food to 200,000 people each month plus their pets. Mitchell says. “Now, we provide food for 340,000 people per month and we are expecting our lines to continue to grow. People are running out of savings, foreclosures are growing, and gasoline prices are rising.”

Needs have expanded in some areas of San Diego County more than others where statistics show there is significantly higher demand. Distribution volume leaped in Lemon Grove 436% in the first two quarters of this fiscal year alone. Vista, Imperial Beach, and Spring Valley residents are also hard hit.

These trends are similar among other food-relief organizations according to Tim Ney, chief operations officer at Feeding America.

The Good Are Giving

There has also been a rise in nonprofit food distribution – 10,000,000 pounds of food delivered last year has become 14,600,000 pounds this year.

Feeding America in Chicago, Illinois is getting more requests from middle-class residents standing in its food lines. “Not only is there an increased demand from those who are hungry, but the face of hunger is changing,” Ney said. “It used to be a different demographic. Now it’s working adults who don’t have the means.”

Claudia Strasbaugh
Claudia Strasbaugh was a freelance writer who founded Scripps Ranch/Mira Mesa Writer's Guild, was head writer for the weekly TV show "Kill 'EM With Comedy," plus California Bureau Chief for National Lotto World Magazine. Claudia also ran a nonprofit called Dinner On A Dollar. Sadly, Claudia passed away in 2015, but we are pleased to display her writing works.