San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl is one of San Diego’s signature events in non-COVID years. Photo via Facebook

Volunteers from the nonprofit San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl distributed 1,000 food kits to tourism and hospitality workers laid off or furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic Friday.

Due to the pandemic, more than 45,000 people in San Diego’s tourism industry have lost their jobs, according to Employment Development Department data released Friday.

“Earlier this year, we were hoping the SDCCU Holiday Bowl was going to serve as a bright light for San Diego tourism at the end of an extraordinarily tough year,” said Dan Moore, the 2020 Holiday Bowl president. “When we canceled the game, we still wanted to do something to help.”

When it was announced in October that the 43rd annual bowl game would not be played this December, the bowl association partnered with the San Diego Food Bank, San Diego Tourism Authority and the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council to distribute 1,000 kits containing turkeys or hams, canned goods and a box of fresh produce and dairy items to tourism and hospitality workers who have lost their jobs.

The mission of the nonprofit San Diego Bowl Game Association is to generate tourism, visibility and economic impact for the San Diego region by producing the Holiday Bowl and other events and for visitors and local fans.

As part of the endeavor, the Holiday Bowl led an effort to raise more than $25,000 to underwrite the cost of the kits.

“The team at the Holiday Bowl saw a need to lift up our tourism and hospitality industry workers, and they worked quickly and collaboratively with us and the San Diego Food Bank to make positive impact on our community,” said Julie Coker, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority. “While we appreciate all the Holiday Bowl has done to give back to our industry and to San Diego, we can’t wait for this pandemic to be over and for them to go back to doing what they do best — hosting one of the country’s premier college football bowls in 2021.”

The San Diego Tourism Authority’s mission is to drive visitor demand to economically benefit the San Diego region. A private, nonprofit organization, the tourism authority comprises approximately 1,000 member businesses, local governments and individuals.

The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief organization in San Diego County. Last year, the Food Bank distributed 28 million pounds of food, and it serves, on average, 350,000 people per month in San Diego County.

— City News Service