By Rhea Kuhlman, Pantry Volunteer
Families come in all shapes and sizes at the Food Pantry. Some are grandparents raising their grandkids. Some are single parent households or even two parent households. Some are elderly on fixed incomes, or extended families with 3 or more generations living together. But there’s one thing these families all have in common. With San Diego rents among the highest in the nation (average $2917/month per rentcafe.com), electricity rates the highest in the U.S. (thanks, SDG&E), and ever-rising food prices, people earning minimum wage or less cannot afford to provide nutritious food for their families.
Maybe that’s why demand at the South Bay Food Pantry, generously supported by members of this congregation, has risen over this past year to about 400 families per week.
At the same time as demand for our services has increased, the Food Pantry is facing its own increasing costs for rent, utilities, and the food we buy at heavily discounted rates from San Diego’s two food banks. Currently, the Food Pantry is being forced to spend down its reserves to cover expenses which exceed our revenue by about $600/month. This gap will increase next year as costs increase unless we generate more revenue to support this life-saving service.
Even so, it currently costs the Food Pantry only $12/month to feed one family, and that modest amount brings families an average of 110 pounds of protein, fresh vegetables and fruit, and other nutritious meal items each month. We estimate that this cost will rise to $13/month next year.
For a monthly donation of only $13 ($156/year), you can help a low-income family facing San Diego’s high cost of living to obtain healthy, nutritious food, and diapers for families with young children. Monthly or annual pledges help in another way, too. They give the Food Pantry the ability to estimate annual revenue, and plan accordingly. Currently, ongoing pledges account for about 57% of our income, and pay for only about 100 families per month, with the rest coming from one-time donations. One-time donations are greatly appreciated, but they’re not predictable. Our goal is to be able to feed at least 300 of our 400 regular families through predictable ongoing donations.
Please consider a monthly or annual donation to the Food Pantry to support one or more families that need our help. An ongoing commitment of any amount helps feed families in our community. To set up a regular donation go to https://www.firstuusandiego.org/donations.html, enter an amount, click on Monthly or Annually, under Gift Designation click on SB Food Pantry, and complete the rest of the form.
We are fortunate that, as a relatively affluent congregation with few members facing food insecurity, we have the ability to spread our good fortune to the wider San Diego community. There is no better feeling than helping other human beings to thrive.
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