project innovation

Fighting Hunger Through Innovation

The Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank will create more volunteer opportunities thanks to the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation's "Project Innovation 2020" Grant

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank is seeing unprecedented demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why CEO James Floros said a new infusion of funding comes at the perfect time.

The San Diego Food Bank was able to receive $38,950 as part of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation's "Project Innovation 2020." Grant The money will go directly to enhance and support the organization's 'backbone', it's tens of thousands of volunteers.

"This grant from NBC Universal, the timing could not be better," Floros said.

NBC 7 and Telemundo 20 in partnership with the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation recently awarded almost $2.5 million to non-profits around the country, including $225,000 right here in San Diego county.

The grants went specifically to groups using innovative solutions to tackle everyday problems, including those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This innovation grant allows us to engage our volunteers more, and to get more information to them," Floros said.

The San Diego Food Bank used to feed about 350,000 people in San Diego County before COVID-19, but the need skyrocketed in March, seemingly overnight.

San Diego Foodbank volunteers bagging fruit.
NBC 7/Steven Luke
San Diego Food Bank volunteers bagging fruit.

Today, the organization is feeding more than 600,000 people.

The only way the food bank can operate is through the dedication of roughly 30,000 volunteers who sort, pack, and help distribute food.

"Last year, the value of our volunteers was about $1.8 million of free labor. With this grant and enhancements, we think we can increase that to about $2 million of volunteer effort," Floros said.

Enhancements will include computer software upgrades and new equipment which will help make the volunteer experience more engaging and satisfying, including a recognition program.

"Last year, the value of our volunteers was about $1.8 million of free labor with this grant and enhancements. We think we can increase that to about $2 million of volunteer effort," Floros said.

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