The holiday season brings out the best in most human beings. While many San Diegans will spend their holidays in celebration with friends, family, and loved ones, others will not be so fortunate. With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, many local and national programs like the San Diego Food Bank, Feed America San Diego, Volunteer San Diego, The American Red Cross, and The Salvation Army will all be doing their part in aiding the less fortunate with life's necessities.
Since its establishment in 1977, San Diego Food Bank partners every year with the Jacobs and Cushman Food Bank, and this year was no different. Their Holiday Food Drive 2012 began on November 1, and continues until December 31, and functions to collect food for individuals and families in need over the holidays. Nonperishable food drop off locations, where San Diego Food Bank's "famous red barrels" are strategically placed at Jerome's Furniture locations, or any Vons or Stater Bros. supermarkets throughout the United States.
According to the USDA, a "food-insecure household" is defined as "uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all its members because they have insufficient money or other resources for food." The definition is obvious enough, but the sad fact is that in 2010, 48.8 million people lived in food-insecure households nationwide.
In 2009, according to the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), more than 3.7 million Californians were classified as food-insecure. This number increased nearly thirty percent from the previous survey (conducted in 2007), which showed 2.8 million Californians were struggling for food.
With San Diego's unemployment near ten percent, an estimated "real" unemployment rate, which would include those working part time that would like a full time position, as well as those who have given up searching for jobs, would realistically remain around eighteen percent. In San Diego County, more than 446,000 citizens live below poverty. This would equal out to a total household income of less than $10,890 for individuals, and $22,350 for a family of four.
In the 2010-2011 fiscal year, The San Diego Food Bank:
- Distributed 20,411,940 pounds of food to San Diego County which is the equivalent of 15,946,828 meals.
- Thirty percent of the food distributed was fresh produce, totaling over 6.1 million pounds.
- Served, on average, over 350,000 people per month in communities and cities throughout San Diego County.
- Provided weekend backpacks full of food to 800 chronically hungry school children at 22 elementary schools every Friday during the school year.
- Provided over 8,500 low-income seniors a box of groceries and staple food items at 51 distribution sites throughout the county every month.
- Over 95,000 people were enrolled in the Emergency Food Assistance Program in 2010. This was up from 37,921 in 2007.
Thanks to the help provided by organizations like the San Diego Food Bank, a large population of San Diegans were able to enjoy their holiday season, as is the right of every citizens.
Food can also be directly dropped off between 9am-4pm at the San Diego Food Bank warehouse, which is located at 9850 Distribution Avenue.