In Need? Food Resources in Central and Eastern San Diego

DSCN2469Updated: January 2023

With inflation skyrocketing, more of us need help feeding our families nutritious foods. Luckily in San Diego, there are plenty of programs and organizations that can help.

In large metropolitan areas like San Diego County, there are many resources for those who have food insecurity. Some of them require proof of need, proof of residence, or extensive paperwork to qualify. For someone who is embarrassed by food insecurity, these requirements can be a deterrent. Other organizations put a cap on how many times a family can visit.

Here are a few local Central and East San Diego County Area organizations that offer food assistance that do not require any proof of need.

Central San Diego County

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 8.09.41 AMThe Cupboard on 54th. Located at Calvary Lutheran Church 3060 54th Street, San Diego, CA 92115.  They are open 3 times a week.

You can get dry goods one time per month and a produce bag is available each day they are open (for a total of three times a week).

This is located at the same location as a free clothing closet. They have clothes for men women and children, as well as shoes and accessories.

Christ Ministry Center 3295 Meade Ave San Diego, CA 92116 has a food bank three days a week. Hours: Mondays 1-3pm, Wednesdays 10am-Noon and 1-3pm, Fridays 10am-Noon and 1-3pm. Park in the rear lot and look for the Good Neighbor Center Food Bank sign. They also have other services for those in need. Check out their website for more information.

The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank has neighborhood distribution sites all over San Diego throughout the month. Each time and location is different, but you can expect to go home with a lot of fresh produce! There are no requirements or proof of need (no ID either).  Just bring a few reusable bags or a cart to carry your food home.

East County:

Journey Church in La Mesa has a food bank that distributes food three times per month.

  • 1st Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm
  • 2nd Friday of the month – produce only – at 9 am
  • 3rd Saturday of the month from 8:30 am

unnamed.jpgFaith Chapel in Spring Valley has a great event once a month called Meet the Need. It is on the 1st Sunday of each month.

There is a free lunch starting at 1pm with some fellowship (a great way to meet your neighbors), followed by shopping in their boutique for free clothing and household items, and you will go home with a bag (or two) of free, healthy groceries.

Similarly, Pastor Josiah and his crew have been doing weekly food distributions- Visit their website (address below) and get on their email list to learn more and find out when the next distribution will be- or subscribe to my blog- I post about their distributions in advance!

You can learn more by visiting or contacting Faith Chapel here.  Pastor Josiah and his crew are wonderful people!

For residents of the City of Santee, the Santee Food Bank is available to you once a month. Proof of Santee Residency (like a utility bill) is required, and ID for everyone in the household (ID cards, drivers licenses, school ids, health insurance cards). The Santee Food Bank is open for regular distributions 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. every Wednesday and Friday, as well as the first and third Saturday of each month.

The Santee Food Bank also hosts USDA Commodities twice a month. Commodities are available to anyone, regardless of where you live. They are healthy food staples, and frequently consist of Meat, rice, pasta, canned veggies and fruit, cereal, milk, and bread. Items change each time, but there are always lots of healthy options. Commodities hours are the third Tuesday from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Feeding American San Diego has a map on their website of various resources in the San Diego area, many of them require no proof of need or paperwork.

If you are located in Northern San Diego County, here is a post that has options and locations for you.

While not strictly free, Porchlight Community Services (which I wrote about here) frequently has free food distributions. Check their website, or follow them on Facebook for updates and events. 

If you have any food resources to share, please leave a comment!