San Diego

Inspiring San Diego: Oceanside Nonprofit Makes Child Food Insecurity Its Mission

An Oceanside organization called “Got Your Back San Diego” is giving children, who often don't have enough to eat, the gift of nutrition.

Every Tuesday night, at a small warehouse in Oceanside, volunteers with Got Your Back San Diego show up to fill backpacks with food.

Every Friday the backpacks are handed out to children at local schools in Vista, Oceanside, and Carlsbad who otherwise might not have food for the weekend.

Christian Twombly volunteers regularly with the nonprofit.

"The thought of our own kids starving on the weekends is something we don't think about because we're the land of plenty," Twombly said.

Bill McLeod and his wife Sue started Got Your Back San Diego in 2010. Their hearts were broken when they discovered the size of the need.

"When I first heard about 26,000 kids in San Diego County who aren't eating on the weekends that to me was sad,” said Bill McLeod.

The McLeods started hearing the stories of the kids they were serving and it was only then that Bill realized his drive and passion to help comes from his ability to relate.

“The connection I was really experiencing was that I was one of these kids," he said.

Bill knows first-hand what it's like to be hungry. He grew up as one of six kids with a single mom. Money was tight.

“We pretty much had to compete for our food. And the food that was had was beans, mac and cheese, hot dogs," he said. "Not nutritious food."

Bill McLeod remembers the charitable group that helped his family have a Christmas when he was just a child.

“That was huge,” he said. “That was life-changing. And that's not life-sustaining. This is!"

Got Your Back San Diego runs solely on donations and volunteers. They average 300 backpacks a week packed with six meals. The packs are given to the neediest kids, identified by school administrators.

Twombly said right now they're just scratching the surface of the need here in San Diego County.

“In the area I call home, there could potentially be 20 to 25,000 kids that could potentially be food challenged," he said.

The modest warehouse where the food is stored and packed every week, is actually the back of Bill McLeod's home-inspection business that he's been running for nearly two decades.

He said right now is a pivotal time because he is faced with a choice: grow his career or grow his vision for serving more kids through Got Your Back.

“I'm faced at this point with giving one of them up,” he said.

But Bill McLeod’s obvious compassion for the children of Got Your Back makes the decision seem obvious.

With tears in his eyes, he said he has decided to phase-out his day job to commit full-time to making a change in the lives of those who remind him of the kid he once was.

“It changes people's lives," he said. "That's the main thing."

Got Your Back is always grateful for food donations and volunteer support. To find out more click here.

Contact Us