Exploring San DiegoMonth of a Million Meals


Fighting food insecurity in San Diego County's rural areas

Posted at 6:31 AM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 09:31:20-05

CAMPO, Calif. (KGTV) - Food insecurity is a problem in San Diego year-round, and that problem has become worse with the pandemic.

Campo, in San Diego's East County, is an area that struggles with access to food year-round because of its far distance. Many people choose to live in the area because of the rural setting, but also because of the lower cost of living.

“We’re really below the poverty level out here. We’re lower in income out here and so grocery stores aren’t readily available right around the corner,” said Julie Atherton, a site coordinator for a food distribution that happens twice a month.

Atherton said the closest major store is at least a half hour drive, so the pop-up food banks with food supplied by Feeding San Diego are crucial throughout the year, but the need has grown during the pandemic.

“We serve a lot of seniors, a lot of families that have been affected by the COVID,” said Atherton.

She said the older people who live in Campo are the ones who need to be more careful during the pandemic, so many of them are trying to avoid stores. This caution, combined with an already existing difficulty with getting to the store, has created a heightened problem surrounding food insecurity. This means their food distributions are more important now than ever.

“When you’re on fixed income and you have problems, your money only goes so far and when you get to my age,” said Jerry Read, a local who picked up meals.

ABC 10News is committed to helping the community and during the Month of a Million Meals, donations will be collected to benefit Feeding San Diego. Contributions will help children, seniors, college students and military families or veterans. You can donate here.