The South Bay Food Pantry is a major success story for First UU San Diego. From its start in December 2020, the Pantry has grown from feeding 20 to 30 people each week to 400 households, about 1200 people, every Saturday. That’s an 800 percent increase! This expansion has been driven by the need in the community, and supported by volunteers from both church campuses, and many of our clients. We have much to be proud of, and much to be grateful for.
We are especially grateful to the loyal group of about 20 families within the church who are regular monthly donors. They are the rock on which we’ve been able to build this project that acts on our UU values in our own community. Three years on, our growth has brought us to the point where the cost of meeting our community’s needs has exceeded what these donors contribute. We need to broaden the base of our support.
Here’s a closer look at how the Food Pantry spends its money.
The pantry is very cost-effective. Of the 10,000 pounds of food we distribute every Saturday, much of it comes from the two area food banks, Feeding San Diego and San Diego Food Bank, at a cost of less than a dollar per pound. The rest is donated by grocery stores, bakeries and Starbucks. Our cost to provide a household of four with 25 to 30 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat or poultry, bread and milk works out to $2.40.
Even with this very low cost for food and an all-volunteer work force, the pantry spends about $835 a week on rent, food, utilities, and supplies. We’re now running at a deficit of about $1300 per month. We’re covering this gap from our reserve fund, but this isn’t sustainable for the long term. Our reserves will be depleted within the year. For the pantry to continue its work, we must increase our monthly income. We see two ways of doing this: apply for grants and enlarge our family of regular donors.
We’ve applied for one grant, we’re working on another, and will continue to pursue this avenue. Grants take time to find and to apply for, and there’s usually a lag of months before decisions are made. We’re also looking to you, members of First UU, for help. If you like what the pantry is doing and want to support your values in action, please consider making a regular monthly donation to the pantry. Your monthly contribution in any amount will help us continue our work. In addition it will improve our standing with grantmakers. Nearly all grantmakers want to know the size of an organization’s base of support. The more donors we have, the greater credibility we will have with grantmaking organizations.
Thank you for your consideration.
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