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Blessing boxes offer help to hungry San Diegans

Blessing Box
Posted at 2:52 PM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 20:03:35-05

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, Wednesdays, Thursdays 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Upcoming 2020 holiday closures: November 26 (Thanksgiving); December 24 (Christmas Eve); December 31 (New Year’s Eve)

Location: Father Joe’s Village 3350 E Street San Diego, CA 92102
Food Distribution Days & Hours: Monday, Thursday, & Friday 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Helpful Tips: this site can provide diapers upon request Upcoming 2020 holiday closures: November 26-27 (Thanksgiving); December 24-25 (Christmas)

La Maestra 4060 Fairmount Avenue San Diego, CA 92015
Food Distribution Days & Hours: Monday and Wednesday 9:00 am - 2:00 pm; Friday 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Helpful Tips: this site can provide diapers upon request
Upcoming 2020 holiday closures: November 27 (Thanksgiving); December 25 (Christmas)

Location: Special Delivery San Diego 4021 Goldfinch Street San Diego, CA 92103
Food Distribution Days & Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:00 am - 1:30 pm
Upcoming 2020 holiday closures: November 26 (Thanksgiving)

Location: Ministerio Tiempo Nuevo at Bethel Baptist Church 1962 Euclid Avenue San Diego, CA 92105
Food Distribution Days & Hours: Friday from 9:45 am - 12:00 pm
Upcoming 2020 holiday closures: November 27 (Thanksgiving); December 25 (Christmas)

Location: Paving Great Futures at Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation 404 Euclid Avenue San Diego, CA 92114
Food Distribution Days & Hours: Tuesdays 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Location: Paving Great Futures at I Am My Brothers Keeper 6601 Imperial Avenue San Diego, CA 92102
Food Distribution Days & Hours: Fridays 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Upcoming 2020 holiday closures: November 27 (Thanksgiving); December 25 (Christmas)

Location: Ascension Lutheran Church 5106 Zion Avenue San Diego, CA 92120
Food Distribution Days & Hours: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays 8:00 am – 11:00 am
Upcoming 2020 holiday closures: November 26-28 (Thanksgiving); December 24-26 (Christmas); December 31 (New Year’s Eve)

Location: North Park Apostolic Church 2515 Lemon Grove Avenue Lemon Grove, CA 91945
Food Distribution Days & Hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm Updated 11/13/2020
Upcoming 2020 holiday closures: November 26 (Thanksgiving); December 24 (Christmas); December 31 (New Year’s Eve)

Location: Somali Bantu Association of America 4975 University Avenue San Diego, CA 92015
Food Distribution Days & Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Upcoming 2020 holiday closures: November 27 (Thanksgiving); December 25 (Christmas)

Location: Uptown Community Service & St Luke’s Episcopal Church 3725 30th Street San Diego, CA
Food Distribution Days & Hours: Drive-thru hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm at the corner of Landis and 30th Street Walk up Distribution: Thursdays 11 am – 1:45 pm at St Luke’s Episcopal Church
Upcoming 2020 holiday closures: November 26 (Thanksgiving); December 24 (Christmas Eve); December 31 (New Year’s Eve)

Location: USO San Diego 2790 Truxtun Rd Suite 110 San Diego, CA 92106
Food Distribution Days & Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Upcoming 2020 holiday closures: November 26 (Thanksgiving); December 24 (Christmas Eve); December 31 (New Year’s Eve) Drive-thru hours: 1 st and 3rd Friday of each month, view USO’s Facebook page for rotating location facebook.com/usosandiego Helpful Tips: this site is for military families only