hand up youth food pantry at jfs

Led by the Hand Up Teen Leadership Program, the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry focuses on helping people get back on their feet. Not only do we provide food to thousands of San Diegans facing hunger, but by including case managers at distribution sites we open the door to the array of vital services offered at Jewish Family Service.

Feeding America San Diego’s 2014 Hunger in America study shows that of the 473,500 San Diego County residents who seek emergency food every year, 26% are under the age of 18, 64% live in households in which at least one member worked during the previous year, and 27% live in households that include at least one member who is serving or has served in the military. By providing more lean meats, low-fat dairy, and fresh fruits and vegetables, the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry helps individuals and families access the nutrition they need to be good students, healthy and productive workers, and engaged members of our San Diego community.

National data from the Hunger In America study estimates that one-fourth of all U.S. households with a member currently serving in the military receive food assistance from a Feeding America-supported program. As a Feeding America San Diego partner and resource for military families in San Diego, Jewish Family Service worked with NBC to explore how this national challenge affects individuals and families in our own community. Click here to read more.

The Hand Up Youth Food Pantry is a partner agency of Feeding America San Diego and the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank.

Learn More About:
Food Distribution Location & Schedules
Client Choice Pantry - OPENING JULY 1, 2015
Volunteer Opportunities

The Giving Tree
Meet the Hand Up Staff

Food Distribution Locations & Schedules
Hand Up truck 2014The Hand Up Youth Food Pantry delivers food to several locations throughout San Diego County. Food is distributed once a month at St. Paul’s Cathedral downtown, once a month at Camp Pendleton and Murphy Canyon Military Housing, and as needed to our clients at various JFS locations and at offices in Kearny Mesa.

St. Paul’s Cathedral Distribution
Open to anyone in need of food assistance

3rd Thursday of the month • 1:00–3:00pm
2728 6th Ave. (corner of 6th and Olive)
San Diego 92103
January 21st, February 18th, March 17th, April 21st, May 19th, June 16th,
July 21st, August 18th, September 15th, October 20th, November 17th,
December 15th
Items distributed include canned and boxed food, fresh produce, bread, and hygiene items. Attendees are welcome to pick up food monthly. We encourage you to avoid a long line by arriving after 2:00pm, when the line is shorter and food is still available. Please bring a picture ID and be prepared to fill out a short form the first time you attend. 

"I am thankful for the food distribution because I lack the money to pay for food most of the time. The staff are all friendly and make me feel welcome."
–  St. Paul’s Cathedral food recipient

Military Distributions
Open to Active Duty military and their spouses

We encourage you not to arrive before 1:30pm. We plan food purchasing based on our experience and typically do not run out before 3:00pm. Products distributed are standardized to ensure fairness to every family served.


Murphy Canyon Military Housing • 2:00–3:00pm
Murphy Canyon Chapel 3200 Santo Rd.
January 10th, February 14th, March 13th, April 10th, May 8th, June 5th,
July 10th, August 14th, September 11th, October 9th, November 13th,
December 11th 

Camp Pendleton • 2:00–3:00pm
Religious Development Center • Building #1344 on A St. and 11th St.
January 24th, February 28th, March 20th, April 17th, May 22nd, June 26th,
July 24th, August 28th, September 25th, October 30th, November 20th, December 18th 

"These food distributions are important to my family as military pay isn’t very much. My family depends on the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry to make ends meet."
– Camp Pendleton family

We welcome any feedback about distribution procedures and community needs by emailing handup@jfssd.org. We also greatly appreciate thank you emails and letters that we can use to fundraise and continue serving the community. For more information about the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry, call (858) 637-3088 or email.

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Client Choice Pantry

The Hand Up Youth Food Pantry at Jewish Family Service is seeking energetic, committed volunteers to join its brand new Client Choice Pantry, opening July 1, 2015.

Unlike a traditional pantry, where clients receive a pre-packed bag of staple foods, our Client Choice Pantry will allow visitors to “shop” from our available items, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, meat, and low-fat dairy. This model reduces food waste and prioritizes the dignity of our clients, allowing them to choose foods that match their preferences and dietary restrictions.

Our new pantry is only possible with your help.

Volunteer Opportunity

Provide one-on-one assistance to clients as they shop

 Empower clients with recipes and nutrition information

Assist Hand Up staff with critical tasks to keep our pantry running

Able to commit three hours each week for at least three months


Ready to make an impact?

Click here to apply and specify your interest in the Client Choice Pantry>>


Contact JFS Volunteer Engagement at (858) 637-3042
or volunteer@jfssd.org

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Volunteer Opportunities

Hand Up Teen Leader

The Hand Up Youth Food Pantry feeds hundreds of hungry individuals and families each month. 20-25% of the food distributed comes from commuity food drives. You can help alleviate hunger by conducting a food drive in your school, business, group, or congregation! We’ll provide you with everything you need, including flyers and food bins. For more information, call (858) 637-3356.

We have many other opportunities in the pantry and in the community for individual and group volunteers. We depend on hundreds of volunteers each month to assemble food bags, organize the pantry, and distribute food to our clients. Click here for a complete list of volunteer opportunities with the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry. To register for volunteer opportunities in the pantry or at military distributions, complete the Hand Up volunteer application.

"Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to help. My daughter wants to keep coming back to volunteer, she loves it!"
– Hand Up volunteer

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Hand Up Youth Food Pantry Giving Tree

Hand Up Youth Food Pantry Giving TreeThe Hand Up Youth Food Pantry is a partner agency of Feeding America San Diego and the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. Through these organizations, we are able to purchase food at greatly reduced prices – often $.10-$.20 per pound! This partnership allows JFS to stretch each donated dollar much further and purchase more food than at a grocery store. Consider making a monetary donation by dedicating our Giving Tree! Click here for more information.

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Meet the Hand Up Staff

Rachel Isaacson, Food Drive and Distribution Specialist
Rachel IsaacsonRachel joined Hand Up this past August 2014 after graduating from UC San Diego with a major in Political Science. While on campus, Rachel became involved with preventative health care, working as a peer educator on health issues for nearly three years. She is interested in noncommunicable diseases, specifically obesity and other diet-related disorders. To study these further, Rachel plans to attend graduate school and earn her Master’s in Public Health. She is very excited to be working at Jewish Family Service with Hand Up. She loves interacting directly with the community, and looks forward to helping make nutritious food more accessible in San Diego.

Originally from Boston, Rachel grew up in Los Angeles and has been living in San Diego for the last four years. In her free time, she practices yoga, cooks, and explores San Diego. She also just ran a half marathon and is looking forward to running more! Feel free to contact Rachel at (858) 637-3243 or racheli@jfssd.org.

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Stay Connected with JFS

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(858) 637-3088
Send an email>>

(858) 637-3210

(General Information)
(858) 637-3000

Turk Family Center
8804 Balboa Ave.
San Diego, CA  92123

Hand Up Website>>

Hand Up Youth Food Pantry Volunteer Application>>

For returning Hand Up Youth Food Pantry volunteers, click here

All communication is strictly confidential.

This program is generously supported
by a grant from the

S. Mark Taper Foundation

Jewish Federation

San Diego Gas & Electric

Banfield Charitable Trust

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