How to Help in San Diego County During the Coronavirus Pandemic

From donations to Feeding San Diego to the American Red Cross, there are many ways to lend a hand to fellow San Diegans

NBC 7 San Diego

The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives in San Diego County and beyond. Here are some ways to help fellow San Diegans struggling during these difficult times:

Medical Donations


Organizations or individuals can donate masks, gowns, face shields and other much-needed medical equipment through a partnership of Rady Children’s Foundation and the Rock Church. To donate personal protective equipment, call (800) 258-0007 or reach hospital reps via email at Donations must be new, sealed and in original packaging. There is a great need for disposable thermometers, face shields, eye shields, isolation gowns, goggles, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and exam gloves.

Sharp Rees-Stealy

Meanwhile, Sharp Rees-Stealy is also accepting donations of items like cloth face coverings for patients and medical masks for health care providers. Tablets and phone chargers are also being accepted at several Sharp Rees-Stealy locations. Learn all about that here.

UC San Diego Medical Center

The UC San Diego Medical Center called on "all researchers and relevant facilities, individuals and organizations to help alleviate the shortage in San Diego." Those who are able to can donate medical-grade procedure and surgical masks, surgical and isolation protective gowns, arm sleeves, googles, eye shields and face shields. UC San Diego Medical Center said it is not accepting hand-sewn masks. The center is also accepting monetary donations and food items. To learn how to donate, click here.

American Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Counties

The American Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Counties helps more than 3.6 million people across 10,000 square miles with urgent humanitarian relief in times of crisis. A couple of ways to help: Make a financial donation here or donate blood at one of the organization’s blood drives. Both the San Diego Blood Bank and American Red Cross have been asking locals to consider donating blood amid the COVID-19 crisis. The U.S. Surgeon General is urging all healthy Americans – especially young adults – to consider donating blood to help fight a potential nationwide shortage amid the coronavirus pandemic. “Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement,” Jerome Adams said at a White House press briefing in which he urged anyone who can to “give blood today.” 

County Volunteer Opportunities

According to San Diego County, there are several local organizations currently in need of volunteers. You can check out those via the JustServe website here, and also by emailing

Food Donations

San Diego Hunger Coalition

The San Diego Hunger Coalition works with 150-plus partners across the county in an ongoing mission to make sure locals have enough to eat. The SDHC said it is working to expand access to food assistance in San Diego County and will be updating the public on those efforts via this website. You can donate to the SDHC here or learn about other ways to help through the organization here.

Feeding San Diego

Feeding San Diego provides more than 26 million meals every year to children, families, seniors, college students, military families, veterans, people facing homelessness and other underserved populations. FSD partners with more than 300 local organizations, including NBC 7, to help feed hungry San Diegans.

NBC 7 & Telemundo 20 are teaming up with Feeding San Diego to help feed children and families facing hunger through the “Fuel For Summer” campaign now through June 12. Hunger is on the rise due to COVID-19 -- in these challenging times, 1 in 6 kids don't know where their next meal is coming from.

Feeding San Diego continues to provide fundamental services to those facing personal hardship by hosting dedicated summer food distributions for children and their families. With your support, the power of food can help give a child energy, confidence and the ability to focus on their futures. Help is needed today more than ever. To donate, please click here. The Ford Motor Company Fund is matching all donations up to $25,000. Every dollar you give will double during this critical time. 

Feeding San Diego is making sure children don’t have to go hungry with its Fuel for Summer program. NBC 7's Lauren Coronado has more.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Feeding San Diego is posting updates on its response to help locals via this resource page.

The organization has expanded the number of locations around San Diego County where people in need can pick up food. Click here for a list of food distribution sites. The organization said it is not accepting volunteers, but there are other ways to help. Want to donate food to Feeding San Diego? Send an email here. Go here to make a financial donation to FSD, click here to start a fundraiser, or use this link to find language to post on social media to help spread the word about what Feeding San Diego is doing to help the county’s residents in their time of need.

San Diego Food Bank

The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and the North County Food Bank are continuing their food distribution programs at more than 200 sites during the COVID-19 pandemic. The food bank provides food assistance and resources to 350,000 every month and plans to continue its good work in the times of the coronavirus crisis. The San Diego Food Bank operates 200 food distribution centers across the county, with health guidelines and precautions in place.

To help the Food Bank, you can donate here online, or you can partake in a Virtual Food Drive here. You can also call them at (866) 350-3663. According to the San Diego Food Bank, every $1 that is donated can provide five meals to San Diegans in need.

Community Organizations

San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund at the San Diego Foundation

The San Diego Foundation has collected millions of dollars in donations from San Diegans to help those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. A rapid response grant of $250,000 was granted to the United Way of San Diego County. That money will be used to provide safety net funding for rent, mortgage and utility payments for low-wage individuals and families impacted by layoffs and reduced working hours as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

To donate to the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund at the San Diego Foundation, click here.

One hundred percent of donations to the San Diego COVID-19 Response Fund will be provided to nonprofits helping San Diegans impacted by the coronavirus. Funds will be released on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the coronavirus outbreak and its recovery phases, according to the San Diego Foundation.

Jewish Family Service

JFS has multiple programs aimed at helping different populations around San Diego. Some programs include a Foodmobile, which delivers food to people over the age of 60; On the Go, which helps transport people to doctor appointments and grocery stores, and its food pantry, which distributes pre-bagged food, drive-thru style. The outbreak has changed how some of its assistance programs are operating, but a current list can be found here.

The organization also launched an Emergency Assistance Fund, which is being used to help people affected by COVID-19. You can donate here. JFS officials said the fund will be used to help pay for medical expenses, rent and mortgage assistance, and childcare, among other things. Applicants for relief should click here.

San Diego Humane Society
The San Diego Humane Society is distributing thousands of pounds of pet food and pet supplies like cat litter, treats, and pet beds to families in need during the COVID-19 crisis. The group is partnering with the San Diego Food Bank, San Diego Unified School District and other local organizations serving senior citizens to make pet food available at distribution sites. So, how can you help? The San Diego Humane Society depends on donations and is accepting them online here, by texting “sdhumane” to 50155, or even via Facebook. You can also donate items to the SDHS’s Charity Wish List on Amazon, and those items will be shipped directly to the organization.

Serving Seniors
Serving Seniors is an organization that helps seniors living in poverty have healthy and fulfilling lives. The nonprofit is distributing about 7,000 meals daily to low-income seniors, and the group needs ongoing support to keep up with the demand during the pandemic. Monetary donations can be made here. According to the Serving Seniors website, a $50 donation can buy a senior breakfast for a month, while $100 buys a senior five visits with a social worker. Donations will help the organization provide meals, housing and supportive services that seniors need to thrive. Volunteering is another option: Anyone interested in donating time to help with the organization's COVID-19 crisis response efforts can reach out to Activities & Volunteer Coordinator Elle Leidy via email at

If you know of a local organization doing good for those impacted by the coronavirus, send us a note, here.

If you are in need of resources and help in San Diego County during the coronavirus pandemic, read this guide on how to GET help.

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