Blessing boxes offer help to hungry San Diegans

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) – The pandemic created a surge in food insecurity in San Diego and the purple tier restrictions are making it worse.

Neighbors are stepping in to fill the bellies of those in need.

In El Cajon a bright yellow wooden box is perched next to the sidewalk. On it a sign reads, “Blessing Box”.

Inside it’s stocked like a mini grocery store, with grains like rice and pasta, beans, canned vegetables and protein. Single serving hot chocolate, tea and oatmeal line the second shelf.

On the top shelf, snacks, drinks, and items to round out a meal are ready for the taking.

Andrea Roberts heard of a Blessing Box in 2018 on social media and immediately knew she needed one.

Her friend had the same intuition and had her husband craft the wooden box. They surprised Roberts by dropping it off on her porch.

Roberts painted the box, affixed a stand to it, and cemented the stand in the grass next to her sidewalk in September 2018.

Momentum has been growing through social media and the urge to help during the pandemic.

“Yesterday was jam packed, I had several people come and bring stuff, so much stuff they left the excess on the porch,” Roberts said.

She lifted her garage door to unveil piles of food and shelves of canned food, illustrating the willingness to give by the community.

“I’m overwhelmed, really overwhelmed.” Roberts said when she put up the box she thought it would be self sustaining, ‘take what you need and give what you can.’

Since the pandemic, she said, there’s been a surge in need and donations.

According to the San Diego Hunger Coalition, more than 1,000,000 San Diegans are food insecure.

That translates to three out of every ten people in the county don’t know where they’ll get their next meal.

“My hope is just that people find a resource where there is no shame no timeline, if you’re working and you’re barely making it. Maybe you can’t get to a food distribution or a pantry, where this is available 24 hours a day.”

There are Blessing Boxes around San Diego, at churches, one in La Mesa, Santee, Escondido and Julian.

Here is a list of some Super Pantry Locations:

Jewish Family Service of San Diego
8804 Balboa Avenue San Diego, CA 92123 Near Coleman University. Distribution is at the building on your left as you enter parking lot.
Food Distribution Days & Hours: Monday – Friday 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Helpful Tips: this site can provide diapers upon request
Upcoming 2020 holiday closures: November 26-27 (Thanksgiving); December 25 (Christmas); December 31 (New Year’s Eve)

Location: Old Town Community Church
2444 Congress Street San Diego, CA 92112 Between San Diego Avenue and Conde Street Food
Distribution Days & Hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Location: St Paul United Methodist Church of San Diego
3094 L Street San Diego, CA 92102 Cross street is 31st St. Distribution takes place in back of the Church, go up the alley way; entrance will be on your left.
Food Distribution Days & Hours: Mondays,…

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