CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — One thousand cars rolled into Southwestern College Friday morning for a drive-thru emergency food distribution.
The relentless rain came down heavy and steady on a morning when the need was great.
"Thousand cars. We cut it off at a thousand. [We distributed] about 25 pounds of food for a car, roughly about 20 meals," Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank CEO James Floros said.
This was the regional food pantry's third installment of the coronavirus mass food distribution. The event at Southwestern College was supposed to start at 9 a.m. Friday. But by 6 a.m., hundreds of cars had already formed a three-mile-long line that began on the H Street exit off the 805 Freeway.
"What we're just trying to do is shorten some of our distribution lines," Floros said.
Before the pandemic, the food bank's pantry network already served about 350,000 people from low-income families per month. But now, the need is greater than ever. These mass distribution sites are helping disperse the demand.
Once you are here, an organized assembly line of volunteers rush to your trunk and place individual items one by one.
The groceries that were distributed are UHT milk, peanut butter, brown rice, canned peaches, canned green beans, canned peas, canned tomato sauce, canned vegetable soup, canned cream of mushroom soup, canned salmon, canned pork, a box of cereal, pecan pieces (1 lb.), and a bag of potatoes. Families also received a family-pack of toilet paper, paper towels, and baby wipes.
Unfortunately, carpooling does not count at these mass distributions. The rules specify one drop per car. If you require more items, organizers ask you to stop by one of their 100 regularly-scheduled distribution sites listed here. There are special distributions for specific communities, seniors, and even diaper banks.
"The message is, there's enough food, and we're all going to get through this together," Floros said.
The food bank reminds people that these mass distributions are intended for low-income families. They are planning another one in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, they are asking for donations and volunteer sign-ups.