Diapers to Degrees

Posted on January 30, 2020

“As I reflect on the past year, I am honored and proud to share the food bank’s amazing accomplishments,” says James Floros, President and CEO of The Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank. Last year, the nonprofit distributed 32 million pounds of food to those in need from its Miramar and Vista warehouse locations. “I am truly awed by the Food Bank’s ability to distribute more food to more people year after year, and I am convinced that the Food Bank’s operations would rival the most efficient private company,” Floros continues. “With a staff of 60 and 25,000 volunteers, coupled with donor dollars and food donations, we are feeding nearly 350,000 people every month in communities throughout San Diego County.”

Innovation is at the heart of everything the San Diego Food Bank does, from its programs and operations to stewarding donor dollars efficiently and effectively. The organization’s Diaper to Degree Program illustrates a vital part of its core mission — breaking the cycle of poverty among the families it serves with programs designed to remove barriers to education and work for its service population.

“You see, for most of the people we serve, every day is a struggle for survival,” says Floros. “They are one crisis away from losing a job or dropping out of school. By supplying something as simple as an emergency supply of diapers, we are helping working-poor parents stay employed rather than fall back on state assistance.”

As part of the Food Bank’s Diaper to Degree Program, its Food 4 Kids Backpack Program provides weekend backpacks of food to elementary school children living in poverty. Children on the program have improved grades, better interactions with their peers, and reduced absenteeism.

The On-the-Go Food Pantry Program provides food assistance to area middle and high school students who face the threat of hunger daily. By providing food to kids at school, they can concentrate on their studies instead of being hungry. And, their chances of excelling and graduating are greatly improved.

Rounding out the Diaper to Degree Program is the Food Bank’s College Hunger-Relief Program, which provides food assistance to food-insecure college students from low-income homes. The program operates at every public university and community college in San Diego County. Because food insecure students are more likely to drop out of college, this program is helping to ensure that they get the help they need so they can graduate, get good jobs, and break the cycle of poverty.

“This vital work is only possible because of [the community’s] support and desire to improve the quality of life in San Diego County,” says Floros. “For that, I am wholeheartedly grateful.” sandiegofoodbank.org   Jane Shiomi