Hand Up Youth Food Pantry Receives $75,000 Grant from S. Mark Taper Foundation

One-year grant will support Hand Up in distributing supplemental food and providing essential supportive services to more than 8,000 people facing hunger in San Diego County

The Hand Up Youth Food Pantry at Jewish Family Service of San Diego has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation. The one-year grant will support Hand Up in distributing supplemental food and providing essential supportive services to more than 8,000 people facing hunger in San Diego County, including older adults, military families, individuals and families facing temporary financial constraints, newly-arrived refugees, and homeless individuals.

In recent years, the ranks of Americans living in poverty have swelled to 15.1 percent, or 46.2 million people—the highest number recorded by the U.S. Census. According to Feeding America, 16.7 percent of Californians are food insecure, meaning they lack access to enough food for an active, healthy life. The cost of nutritious foods, especially fresh produce, is prohibitive for low-income families. As a result, people with low incomes experience higher rates of obesity and diet-related disease.

In response, Hand Up supports clients’ health by providing fresh produce, bread, and lean meat, in addition to non-perishable staples. Hand Up food distributions also include an onsite case manager, who provides individuals and families with access JFS’s wide range of integrated services, as well as community referrals, to achieve longer-term stability. By co-locating these services, Hand Up supports JFS’s overall goal of empowering individuals and families to move toward self-sufficiency. Hand Up also provides an opportunity for youth to develop leadership skills through a nationally-recognized service-learning program. Pantry staff coordinates the Hand Up Teen Leadership Program to engage high school students in organizing food drives and fundraisers, making educational presentations, managing volunteers, and participating in legislative advocacy.

“We are extremely grateful to have received this grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation,” said Michael Hopkins, CEO of JFS. “The grant will allow The Hand Up Youth Food Pantry to focus on providing both healthy food and supportive services that individuals and families need to build better lives.”

This grant provides vital support to Hand Up during a period of exciting growth and expansion. JFS is in the midst of a campus development project, including the expansion of its existing 800-square-foot food pantry. The new pantry space will be 1,600 square feet with a client choice shopping area and a walk-in, pallet-loaded refrigerator that will allow for increased distribution of nutritious, perishable food items like fresh produce and meat.

The S. Mark Taper Foundation, founded in 1989, is a private family foundation dedicated to enhancing the quality of people's lives by supporting nonprofit organizations and their work in our communities.

Click here to learn more about the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry.

 

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