Moving Forward Together

JFS Response to COVID-19

The health and safety of our community and the JFS Team of staff and volunteers is our top priority.

We are closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and are taking action based on guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California Department of Public Health, and San Diego County Public Health.


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For services, please call (858) 637-3210.

For administration and all other inquiries, please call (858) 637-3000.

Donate to our JFS Emergency Response Fund

Find Help

Drive-Thru Food Distribution

Our no-touch drive-thru food distribution is open to all San Diegans in critical need of groceries during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are open Monday – Friday from 11:00am to 1:00pm at our Joan & Jacobs Campus (8804 Balboa Ave). No qualifications or pre-registration are required. Distribution bags come stocked with a variety of fresh produce, dried/canned goods, and other pantry staples (based on supplies). If you have questions, please call (858) 637-3210 or start the process online by clicking here.



Get delicious, homemade meals delivered straight to your door. To minimize contact during the COVID-19 pandemic, individually-packaged frozen meals will be delivered once a week. Menu options can accommodate low-sodium, vegetarian, and kosher dietary restrictions. This service is for adults age 60+ and younger adults with disabilities that prevent them from leaving their homes. To learn more and order meals, please call (858) 637-3210 or start the process online by clicking here.


Safe Parking Program

For individuals and families living out of their vehicles, the Safe Parking Program offers a safe place to sleep at night, hot meals, and a connection to supportive resources. During the COVID-19 pandemic, two of our Safe Parking lots are open 24/7 to help unsheltered San Diegans stay safe. To ask about lot availability and enroll, please call (858) 637-3373.


DACA Renewals

We are holding free virtual DACA renewal appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Get answers to all your questions and receive help filling out paperwork from our team of immigration experts. To make an appointment, please contact Valerie Guerrero at [email protected].


Emergency Assistance Fund

For San Diegans experiencing financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic, our Emergency Response Fund can provide direct assistance with rent/mortgage payments, transportation, and other vital expenses. For more information, please call (858) 637-3210 or start the process online by clicking here.


Online Citizenship Classes

We are offering FREE online citizenship classes from May through July that are available for all English levels. The classes will occur live on Zoom at 5:00pm, twice a week, for ten weeks starting on May 7th. Registration is open for the first two weeks of the course. To attend, you will need an active email account and access to the online platform Zoom.  To learn more or register for the course, please contact Paulina Bermudez at (858) 637-3364 or [email protected].

Our COVID-19 Response At-a-Glance

  • The JFS Loonin Family Kitchen has started working 2 shifts so we can produce up to 1,600 meals a day for isolated older adults
  • During the week of March 22 – 28, we helped more than 170 new clients receive food. Since we opened our drive-thru food distribution service on campus, we’ve helped more than 500 people receive a total of 9,000 meals.
  • Our Four Safe Parking Lots (3 in SD, 1 in Encinitas) are at full capacity each night which is 213 vehicles, approximately 360 people. Two of our San Diego lots are now open 24/7 during the crisis.
  • All staff who are able to work remotely are connecting with clients through phone and video calls, ensuring we can continue providing the vital services that thousands of people depend on.

Program Updates

Right now, the work we do is more important than ever. As a human service agency that works with vulnerable populations, including older adults who are most at-risk, we are adapting our programs and reviewing alternative strategies to continue serving those who depend on us.

Programs with no change in service:

    • Foodmobile – Will continue to deliver home-delivered meals with implementation of medical/safety protocols.
    • JFS Migrant Family Shelter – Continuing to operate with implementation of medical/safety protocols.
    • Safe Parking Program – Continuing to operate with implementation of medical/safety protocols.

Programs operating with modified services:

    • Care/Case Management – Appointments will take place by telephone.
    • Bikkur Holim – Volunteers are connecting with their matches by telephone or video call.
    • Breaking Down Barriers – All in-person events and presentations are canceled. Meetings, events, and presentations are taking place virtually.
    • Coachella Valley – Services available by telephone.
    • Corner Market and Emergency Food Assistance – For those in crisis, distributing pre-bagged food during designated drive-thru hours from 11:00am – 1:00pm on weekdays at the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Family Campus.
    • Counseling – Appointments with current clients will take place by telephone
    • Hand Up Community Food Distributions:
      • Ohr Shalom – Taking place with modified no-touch distribution.
      • San Diego Food Bank’s Senior Food Boxes at College Avenue Center taking place with modified no-touch distribution.
      • Camp Pendleton Neighborhood Exchange
      • Chabad Downtown
    • Hand Up Loans/CARS – Services for current clients will take place by telephone.
    • Immigration Services – All critical time-sensitive appointments will take place by telephone.
    • On the Go – Rides limited to medical rides/grocery shopping only. We are no longer providing rides for social appointments.
    • Patient Advocacy – Services will take place by telephone.
    • Positive Parenting Program – Online parenting support available in English and Spanish and individual sessions offered by telephone and video.
    • Refugee Resettlement – Appointments will take place by telephone; preparing for future arrivals.

Programs suspended until further notice:

We will update this page as additional actions are implemented.

Ways to Help

Emergency Response Fund

If you are able to support our efforts, please donate to our Emergency Response Fund. More than ever, we are counting on the community’s support as the urgent demand for services increases. Thank you for your support of our mission during these challenging times.

Donate Non-Perishable Food & Hygiene Items

Support San Diegans in critical need who are accessing our no-touch drive-thru food distribution service! Donation drop off hours are from 2:00pm to 4:00pm Monday-Friday at our Joan & Irwin Jacobs campus (8804 Balboa Ave).

High need items: Peanut butter, canned tuna/chicken, canned beans, canned fruit, canned vegetables, granola bars/snacks, mac & cheese cups, cup of soup/ramen, shelf stable milk, kosher items

Hygiene items: Hand sanitizer, wipes & tissues, deodorant (full-size), body wash (full-size), shampoo and conditioner (full size)


In-Kind Donations

For all other donations, we respectfully request that it be delivered to JFS with prior notice. Please contact Courtney Nguyen at (858) 637-3242 or [email protected] for information about our in-kind donation needs and drop-off locations and times.


Amazon Wishlist

You can also purchase high-need items on our Amazon Wishlist that will be distributed to Safe Parking Program participants and to vulnerable San Diegans through our drive-thru food distribution service.

Volunteer Opportunities

We have significantly reduced our volunteer opportunities in order to maintain proper safety measures and social distancing practices to minimize the spread of COVID-19. However, you can still support our community by:

  • Sewing cloth masks for JFS staff, volunteers, and clients. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can pick up kits with pre-cut cloth and elastics to create masks that help everyone on our campus stay safe. Email [email protected] to ask about receiving a kit.
  • Providing dinners to Safe Parking Program guests. JFS operates four Safe Parking Program lots in our community for individuals and families living out of their vehicles, many of whom are experiencing homelessness for the first time. You can drop off individually-packaged meals for 60+ people at our Joan & Irwin Jacobs Campus (8804 Balboa Ave). Schedule the night of your choice by clicking this link.
  • Preparing home-delivered meals for older adults in the JFS Loonin Family Kitchen. As community need grows, we have increased our production of nutritious, home-delivered meals from 400 to 1,600 a day. Commercial Kitchen experience is a plus but not mandatory to volunteer. If you are interested in an on-call shift Monday – Friday from 2:00pm – 9:00pm, please click this link.
  • Assembling toilet paper packages for community distribution. This is part of our drive-thru food distribution with no-contact service and adherence to all recommended safety protocols. If you are interested in a shift Monday – Friday from 9:30am – 1:00pm, please email [email protected].

JFS Community Content

Coping During COVID-19: Community Conversations for You and Your Family

We are hosting a series of free virtual Community Conversations to help San Diegans meet the many challenges of coping with the coronavirus pandemic. From maintaining your mental health, to caring for a parent with dementia, to supporting kids while schools are closed, these Conversations will use our collective knowledge to provide techniques and tips to get through these challenging times. Learn more, watch recordings of past events, and register for upcoming Conversations here.

Watch Past Conversations

  • #1: Self-Care Strategies for Adjusting to a New Normal
    Watch Now >>
  • #2: Dementia Caregiving During the COVID-19 Outbreak
    Watch Now >>
  • #3: How Collective Trauma, Self-Care, and COVID-19 Varies Across Communities
    Watch Now >>
  • #4: Prevención Durante la Pandemia: Una Conversación para Padres
    Watch Now >>
  • #5: Teen Talk: Finding Connection, Coping Strategies, and Hope for the Future
    Watch Now >>
Your Voice Virtual Conference

Your Voice: A Virtual Youth Activism Conference

This online conference on May 17, 2020, is for teens in grades 9-12 who want to create positive change in their community. Featuring inspiring speakers and interactive workshops you can participate in from home, this event will equip the next generation with the skills to advocate for social justice. Registration closes May 14.

Learn More & Register >>

COVID-19 Resources for Older Adults

Stay connected to the JFS community with these videos, activities, and helpful resources specifically created for older adults and caregivers. Check out all the latest content on this page — enjoy!

Watch Now >>

Additional Community Resources

Get Support From Optum San Diego Help Lines

If you are experiencing anxiety or stress related to COVID-19, there’s help. The free Optum Emotional Support Help Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-866-342-6892.

For crisis intervention, suicide prevention, or referrals for mental health resources and/or alcohol and drug needs, call the free 24/7 Optum San Diego Access and Crisis Line at 888-724-7240 or 619-641-6992 TTY.


More Information on COVID-19

For the latest information on how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19, here are some resources:

Visiting JFS

Our offices are currently closed to visitors, but we are continuing to provide vital community services through modified programming and telephonic methods.

The Safe Parking Program, JFS Migrant Family Shelter, and Foodmobile are all operating normally with increased safety protocols in place. Anyone arriving on our Joan & Irwin Jacobs campus for drive-thru food distribution will be asked to wait in their vehicle for no-touch service. We’ve implemented social distancing practices for the safety of everyone on campus – please stay six feet away from the person nearest to you at all times.

If you or anyone you live with has a fever and cough, please avoid visiting JFS offices to protect the vulnerable populations that we serve. We encourage you to call us to discuss alternatives to visiting:

For services, please call (858) 637-3210.
For administration and all other inquiries, please call (858) 637-3000.

JFS Response in Photos