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At-risk San Diego teens distribute food boxes to help those in need during pandemic

Posted at 11:24 AM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 14:24:17-04

San Diego (KGTV) -- A local enterprise center for at-risk teens in City Heights is doing what they can to help those struggling during the pandemic. Their weekly food distribution is serving hundreds of people.

The Union of Pan Asian Communities, also known as UPAC, works with at-risk teens in the City Heights community. The organization strives to lead the teens on a successful path.

“We provide all the mentorship and guidance that we can for these kids to follow the right tracks but employment is such a critical feature,” says Director Dante Dauz.

In 2018, the Enterprise Center was created to help the teens gain employment and entrepreneurial skills. The center consists of the “Neighborhood Cafe,” a commercial kitchen, print shop and technology center.

“They are prepared to open up their own business,” says Dauz. “They’ve been instructed from top to bottom about what licenses they need, business formation, marketing plan.”

When the pandemic hit, Dauz says many people in the City Heights area were in need of food.

“This community was already experiencing challenges and barriers before COVID-19 hit.”

UPAC distributes 6,000 pounds of food through care boxes every Friday.

“In addition to the distribution boxes our cafe also pumps out roughly 1,000 hot meals for the families.”

Dauz says the teens serving the families not only get a chance to better their professional skills but also give back to the City Heights community they love.

“Food for the next few days isn’t going to solve all their problems but, its definitely going to help,” says Dauz. “We take a lot of pride in being able to do that.”

The organization says to ensure there is enough for everyone, they encourage people to call and reserve a donation box ahead of time.