San Diego Food Bank to Launch 30 Countywide “Super Pantries” to Enhance Food Distribution Programs

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  • Super Pantries” will operate as enhanced high-volume food distribution centers serving thousands of households with both “drive-thru” and “walk-up” services.
  • 30 existing food distribution partners will become “Super Pantries” and will be strategically located throughout San Diego County to serve the entire county from Camp Pendleton to San Ysidro and rural East County.
  • “Super Pantries” will distribute food a minimum of three days a week to prevent long lines experienced at previous mass food distributions. 

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The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and our North County Food Bank chapter announced the launch of our new “Super Pantry Program” at a food distribution held at the North County Food Bank’s warehouse on Friday, June 5, in Vista.

The “Super Pantry Program” will comprise 30 high-volume food distribution centers strategically located in communities throughout San Diego County from Camp Pendleton in the north to San Ysidro in the south and rural East County communities.

The Food Bank is launching our “Super Pantry Program” in response to the exponential increase in demand for food assistance from tens of thousands of families impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

How will “Super Pantries” enhance the Food Bank’s existing 200 monthly food distributions?

The establishment of “Super Pantries” will reduce food lines and the amount of time families need to wait for food assistance. Each “Super Pantry” will distribute food a minimum of three days a week to prevent long lines experienced at one-time mass food distributions. With longer service hours on multiple days every week, the Food Bank can serve more households, more safely, more efficiently and more quickly.

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, the San Diego Food Bank and its North County Food Bank chapter have distributed more than 10 million pounds of food over a 10-week period to an estimated 600,000 people in communities across San Diego County.

The Food Bank supplies food to San Diego County’s charitable food network through a hub and spoke model. Through this model, 500 nonprofits receive food from the San Diego Food Bank’s 90,000-square-foot warehouse in Miramar and the North County Food Bank’s 40,000-square-foot warehouse in Vista. The Food Banks’ member nonprofits include food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, low-income day care centers and senior centers. Currently, the Food Bank supplies food for 200 scheduled food distributions every month throughout the county.

James A. Floros, President & CEO of the San Diego Food Bank and its North County Food Bank chapter said, “Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have increased the amount of food we distribute by 67%, and we are currently feeding nearly 600,000 people every month, up from 350,000 per month prior to the start of the crisis.”

“The launch of our new Super Food Pantry Program will greatly increase the capacity of our existing food distribution network partners. With a regional unemployment rate of 25% and COVID-19’s devastating impact on our economy, the need for enhanced food distribution centers will remain for the forseeable future. Our new Super Food Pantries will enable the Food Bank to distribute more food more safely, quickly and efficiently to families in need while the pandemic maintains its grip our region.”  

When will the Super Pantry Program start serving families?

The Super Pantry Program will start serving families on July 1, 2020. The Food Bank has issued an RFP to its 500 nonprofit distribution partners to apply to become a Super Pantry. Those accepted to join the program will receive capacity-building grants from a funding pool of $500,000 made possible by generous donors to the Food Bank. Funding will support capacity building through the purchase of refrigeration units, freezers, pallet jacks, shelving/racking, technology infrastructure, storage, safety equipment and PPE, transportation, and general food distribution supplies.  

The Food Bank has been at the forefront of the Coronavirus pandemic, leading the county’s charitable food network to ensure that tens of thousands of families affected by the crisis receive food assistance. The Food Bank supplies food for 200 hundred scheduled food distributions every month, distributes family food packages in partnership with school districts at more than 40 elementary school sites, and its mobile food pantries provide food assistance to residents of rural and remote areas of the county. The Food Bank is committed to serving San Diego County throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.