A $50,000 grant awarded to the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank will go toward ultimately feeding thousands of San Diego's neediest families.
The Food Bank was the grand prize winner of NBC/Universal's 21st Century Solutions Grant Challenge, a competition for non-profit organizations helping local communities in innovative ways.
James Floros, President & CEO of The Jacobs Cushman San Diego Food Bank, said the award money will be used for new technology, but it will ultimately help feed thousands of San Diego's neediest families.
He said they will use the money, in part, to become more energy efficient and environmentally conscious.
"We actually put about 1,400 solar panels on the roof and that's going to save us $120,000 dollars a year, which equates to about 600,000 meals," Floros said.
The meals help thousands of people like Maria Rodriguez every month. She comes to the distribution event in El Cerrito regularly to help provide for her family.
“They do a very good job. It's very organized and they have plenty of different types of food," Rodriguez said.
In addition to solar panels, The Food Bank is also adding LED lighting, energy-efficient refrigeration controls and a state-of-the-art recycling and composting center.
While the families they serve may never see that new technology, the upgrades will save the Food Bank money, freeing up thousands of dollars that can be spent on those who need it most.
"We can actually take one dollar and leverage that into five meals, so really this is about 250,000 meals benefiting people in need in our community," Floros said.
The Food Bank also provides nutritional counseling to help promote healthy choices.
Rodriguez said the benefit is a significant boost for her family. "It makes a big difference because the money I used to spend on food, I can use it on different necessities to cover up the household," she said.
The Jacobs and Cushman Food Bank is expanding their services throughout the County.
They recently launched their college hunger program, setting up food pantries on local college campuses. They're also starting to offer diapers to families in need. They're always looking for community support and volunteers. For more information, click here.