A group of businesses, colleges and nonprofits announced Friday they were kicking off the second annual Pack the Pantry food drive to assist college students with food insecurity.
California Coast Credit Union, all of San Diego County's community colleges, the North County Food Bank and San Diego Food Bank will seek to raise funds and fill local college pantries throughout the month of November.
"This year, Pack the Pantry is more important to students and our community colleges," said Lynn Neault, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. "This campaign will help students find some relief in a year that has been challenging for many, and we greatly appreciate the community's support."
According to a statement from the credit union, 50% of college students in San Diego face food insecurity -- which means they don't have reliable, consistent access to food. This obstacle increases the likelihood that students will miss classes or drop out of school.
The pandemic has only made securing food more difficult for students. Now more than ever, local students are depending on their college's food pantries.
"This year has presented a lot of challenges for college students, with the shift to virtual and hybrid learning," said Todd Lane, Cal Coast president and CEO. "Lack of access to food should not add to their stress. In these difficult times, we hope that our local community will come together to provide necessary nutrition to those in need."
Both the San Diego Food Bank and North County Food Bank are donating their services to support the Pack the Pantry food drive by delivering the food to the community colleges at the end of the fundraiser.
"Last year's Pack the Pantry food drive provided thousands of meals to students facing food insecurity in our community," said James Floros, Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank president and CEO.
"This year, Cal Coast Credit Union and our local colleges have risen to the occasion to host a virtual Pack the Pantry food drive despite tremendous challenges due to the pandemic. On behalf of the food bank's staff and family of volunteers, we are so deeply grateful to everyone at Cal Coast, local community colleges and the public for helping us feed students facing food insecurity during this heightened time of need in our community."
Donors can provide food and funds to local college pantries by clicking here. There, donors can select which college food pantry they want their donation directed to.