As many San Diegans struggle with financial hardship amid the coronavirus pandemic, some locals got a little help Thursday at a large-scale donation drive-thru in City Heights hosted by the Rock Church.
The distribution event began at noon at the Rock Church’s City Heights campus at 4001 El Cajon Blvd. Locals in need were able to pick up groceries, diapers, and other household items. The event was free and open to all.
Rock Church told NBC 7 that they were able to distribute over 3,300 pounds of food and helped 200 households on Thursday.
The Rock Church held a similar food distribution event last week in San Marcos. The event, the church said, is happening every first Thursday of the month at its location in San Marcos and every second Thursday at its City Heights location.
"We’ve been doing this for a few months now up at our San Marcos campus, this is our Provisions Ministry, and because of the demand and the things that we saw which are just people in need, we’ve branched out here to our City Heights campus. So, today is actually our first day here at this location," said Pastor Ryan Dillon from Rock Church.
The event began back on April 3 – just a few weeks after the coronavirus pandemic had reached San Diego County. Since then, the Rock Church said an average of 120 households come through the event on those two Thursdays, or more 3,100 people in need.
And the need continues.
According to the San Diego Food Bank, hundreds of thousands of San Diegans face food insecurity every day and with COVID-19, the crisis was worsened. The organization used to serve about 350,000 locals each month but with the pandemic, that number has risen to about 600,000 people per month.
"There’s a lot of people that just don’t have the financial resources to provide all the things that we are providing," Dillon said. "The bread, the fruit, the dry goods, and even the diapers that are gonna be provided today. So, it’s just a heart of thankfulness, I think, is what we’ve seen."
The Rock Church hopes it helps its drive-thru events provide alternate means for locals to obtain much-needed groceries.
The church said many local businesses have donated to the food drive, including Einstein Bagels in Oceanside, which contributed bagels to the San Marcos event last week, and places like Stater Bros. of San Marcos, WinCo. Foods San Marcos, and La Provence Bakery.