How many meals can you buy with one dollar?

Posted at 5:52 AM, Nov 23, 2015
and last updated 2016-10-03 09:43:07-04

What can you buy for $1 at the grocery store?

Perhaps a can of beans. A half-pound of apples. Maybe a head of celery or a can of soup.

Through Feeding America San Diego, every $1 can provide four meals for San Diegans facing hunger. Or, from a different perspective, every $1 donated can provide $8.16 worth of groceries.

This statistic is determined by Feeding America, the nationwide hunger-relief network Feeding America San Diego has been a member of since its founding in 2007. It factors in operating expenses, food distributed and its wholesale value, along with the number of meals the organization brings into the county through CalFresh outreach.



While these specific factors make up the calculation, a host of resources and support make this level of efficiency possible:

  • As a member of the Feeding America network, Feeding America San Diego has access to billions of pounds of donated product from manufacturers and retailers across the country. This food is available to members at little to no cost, often only requiring a transportation fee.
  • With a focus on distributing healthy, fresh foods and an awareness of its role in the larger food system, Feeding America San Diego operates a Food Rescue program. Millions of pounds of food are rescued from retailers and grocery stores that would not be able to sell it. In fact, nearly half of the food distributed by the organization is rescued food. Feeding America San Diego pairs local retailers with its partner agencies who run food pantries and other programs right in the same community. The food goes directly from shelves to those in need without being transported to and from the organization’s warehouse in Sorrento Valley, saving gas and allowing partners to distribute the perishable food as quickly as possible.
  • Last year, 13,000 individuals volunteered their time to help feed more than 480,000 children, families and seniors in need. They are an integral part of Feeding America San Diego operations, helping to glean produce for food safety, check expiration dates and bag or box food to prepare for distribution. Their incredible generosity provided the equivalent of 25 full time staff members last year alone.


With research showing that one in seven San Diegans are food insecure, including one in five children, the issue of hunger is pervasive and there is an urgent need to find solutions. Through efficient operations, nutritious food and education, Feeding America San Diego seeks to create systemic change that builds a hunger-free and healthy community.

Food has the power to transform lives. It can restore health, develop young minds, or provide stability in times of uncertainty. Next time you think about giving back to your community and making a very tangible impact, consider how far your dollar can go with Feeding America San Diego.

Looking for a way to give back this holiday season? Be part of Feeding America's Month of a Million Meals and help fight hunger in San Diego County.