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Need for food in East County cities rises sharply

November 7, 2009 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Chargers and Metropolitan Transit Service are partnering to run a series of food drives starting Nov. 10 and ending with a game day food drive at the Chargers vs. Philadelphia game at Qualcomm Stadium Nov. 15. Starting Tuesday, Nov. 10 MTS will host “Stuff the Bus Food Drives” at select Vons supermarket parking lots, where the public will be invited to stuff an MTS bus full of food to feed hungry San Diegans over the holiday season.

From January to June, the amount of food distributed by San Diego Food Bank to the needy doubled and tripled across the county. The number of meals distributed by the Food Bank in San Diego alone increased from 1.6 million to 2.4 million. In Lemon Grove, food distributed skyrocketed by 144%. Spring Valley food distribution shot up 80%, while La Mesa and El Cajon rose 31% and 32%.

Based on the number of people enrolled on Food Bank programs and reports from its nonprofit partners, the number of people served by the Food Bank every month has increased from 200,000 to 304,000 from 2008 to 2009, an increase of 52%.

Food Bank CEO J. Scofield Hage said, “We are so grateful to MTS and the Chargers for supporting the Food Bank with these important food drives. Getting more food donated to the Food Bank will be critical this year with demand soaring. We are feeding more people than ever before, but it is due to the help of organizations like MTS and the Chargers that we are able to meet the increased need.”

The Chargers and MTS will officially launch the food drive at a press conference at Qualcomm Stadium on Nov. 10 at 10.30 a.m. with Supervisor Ron Roberts, Chargers player Vincent Jackson, Chargers COO Jim Steeg, MTS CEO Paul Jablonski and Food Bank officials.

On Sunday, Nov. 15 the Chargers will host a game day food drive at Qualcomm Stadium with the Food Bank’s famous red food drive collection barrels at every stadium entrance.

The Food Bank is appealing to the community to support the food drives since it is currently feeding record numbers of San Diegans. Food Bank officials say that this year’s food drive is of critical importance. All food collected will help the Food Bank meet the exponential increase in demand, especially over the holiday season.

Food drive locations include:

Tues., Nov. 10, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Vons 6555 Mission Gorge Road, 92120
Weds., Nov. 11, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Vons Balboa Avenue, 92111
Thurs., Nov. 12, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Vons 3610 Adams Avenue, 92116
Fri., Nov.13, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Vons 665 Saturn Street, 92154
Sun. Nov. 15, 12 noon – 3 p.m. Qualcomm Stadium, Chargers vs. Philadelphia game

Metropolitan Transit System CEO Paul Jablonski said, “MTS is pleased to unite with the Chargers to once again help the community with a food drive. Stuff the Bus has become an important tradition at MTS and we hope our combined efforts will help those in need.”


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