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Feeding San Diego needs volunteers for vital food rescue driver role that supports hunger-relief programs

SAN DIEGO – Feeding San Diego, the county’s leading hunger-relief and food rescue organization, is calling on the community to help fill a specific volunteer role.

The nonprofit, which is a Feeding America partner food bank, needs food rescue drivers to help pick up food from grocery stores and other food donors and deliver it to various partner organizations.

These partners help get food to people experiencing food insecurity throughout San Diego County. This important volunteer role allows the organization to supply some of its nearly 200 community partners with food they need for their critical hunger-relief programs.

The Feeding America partner food bank rescues over 31 million pounds of food every year with the help of volunteers, food donors, and food distribution partners.

Inflation continues to negatively impact household budgets, and food budgets simply don’t stretch as far or buy as much as last year, leading people to turn to food assistance programs like the ones provided by Feeding San Diego.

“Food rescue drivers are vital to ensuring our organization is able to respond to food donors and go out into the community to rescue food in a timely manner. We have hundreds of food donors that we work with, businesses like Target and Costco, and partners rely on our drivers to deliver food that supports their work of providing meals to our neighbors experiencing food insecurity,” said Kate Garrett, director of supply chain at Feeding San Diego.

“As a non-profit organization, we have over 14,000 volunteers that interact with us every year, and we are grateful to each and every one of them for being a part of our mission,” added Garrett.

According to Feeding America, there are nearly 300,000 people in San Diego County experiencing food insecurity, including almost 80,000 children. Feeding San Diego’s various hunger-relief programs run year-round to support families in bringing nutritious meals home.

Seventy-six percent of the food that the organization distributes is rescued food, meaning it was surplus food rescued from a food donor. Feeding San Diego takes on the responsibility of getting that food, no matter how big the donation, and handling the logistics.

According to nonprofit ReFED, a staggering 38% of all food in the U.S. is wasted, and food banks are doing their part to try to divert edible food from the landfill and instead get it to people facing hunger. This also ties into SB 1383, California legislation that went into effect in 2022 that requires certain food businesses to donate edible surplus food to food recovery organizations like Feeding San Diego.

Food rescue drivers must be 18 years or older. Volunteer drivers use their own personal vehicle for food rescue pickups; however, the organization can train drivers to use refrigerated vans provided by Feeding San Diego if needed and approved by the transportation team.

Volunteers can commit to a recurring pickup for at least six months or support sporadic pickups as needed, which is more flexible for volunteers who can’t make a weekly commitment.

To learn more and apply, visit https:// feedingsandiego.org/volunteer.

Submitted by Feeding San Diego.

 

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