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San Diego County Food Bank
Hundreds of volunteers spent the morning of April 3 at the Del Mar Golf Center, across from the fairgrounds, distributing food to 1,000 vehicles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Local food bank conducts mass distributions

REGION — Thousands rolled through Del Mar as the San Diego County Food Bank distributed food to 1,000 people suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vehicles stacked up the southbound off ramp on Via De La Valle on April 3 and packed the Del Mar Golf Center across from the Del Mar Fairgrounds. It was the second massive food distribution conducted by the food bank in as many weeks, according to Chief Executive Officer Jim Floros.

The SDFB will also hold distribution drives on April 10 at the Aquatica San Diego in Chula Vista and a week later at Grossmont Center, he added. The bank will then reassess and if needed, add more mass distributions.

“This is something we don’t normally do, but we’ve seen such a spike in our lines at our distribution sites, so we thought we’d do some mass distributions to shorten those lines,” he said. “It’s heart-warming and gratifying to see how the local community is rallying around the food bank.

Vehicles passed through one of four lines manned by dozens of volunteers to streamline the process. The non-profit passed out 30 pounds of food per vehicle, along with baby wipes, packs of toilet paper and paper towels.

Food bank
Thousands of pounds of food and supplies were distributed to people in need by the San Diego Food Bank on April 3 at the Del Mar Golf Center. Photo by Steve Puterski

Floros said the organization has adjusted its tactics quickly in response to the growing demand for food and supplies. Their experience, though, has made for a quick transition for organizing their own drives, along with distributing food to 500 partner organizations throughout San Diego County.

In addition, the SDFB has spent $1 million to purchase food. For every $1, Floros said, the food bank can leverage it into five meals.

The non-profit has been a staple in the county since 1977. In addition, its branch in North County moved into a larger building late last year.

“This is what we do for a living,” Floros said. “We’re independent so we’ve always had this entrepreneurial mentality, so if we see a problem we can adapt and overcome. Not a whole lot of bureaucracy.”

Volunteer Jennie Walters, sporting a face mask, said she was compelled to help as the pandemic has taken so much from so many. While many have lost their jobs, Walters, an engineer, said she has been fortunate to remain employed, which is another reason she took the morning off to volunteer.

She said many of the volunteers started at 7 a.m. to bundle the canned food and were done in one hour. It allowed the volunteers to start filing up cars earlier than scheduled.

“I’m just trying to give out to the community,” she said. “I heard about this and though I might as well volunteer. It’s been very smooth and the food bank does a great job of organizing the logistics for events like this.”

To donate, visit For those who need assistance, visit, which has weekly updates for 100 distribution sites.