Food distribution
Organizations found new ways to distribute food and other aid to San Diegans in need during the coronavirus crisis, including a drive-thru distribution site. Photo via

The San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund has granted $1 million to six organizations providing financial assistance to those hit hard by the pandemic.

A virtual news conference conducted by The San Diego Foundation to announce the grants focused on how the number of San Diegans in need has risen.

For instance, unemployment increased to 8% in San Diego County in December, according to the state Employment Development Department.

“The pandemic has hit every corner of San Diego County hard, especially in communities where San Diegans were living paycheck-to-paycheck or below the poverty line even before COVID-19,” said Pamela Gray Payton, chief impact and partnerships officer at the foundation.

“Thanks to our longstanding partnership with these six trusted organizations, this grant funding will quickly help thousands of individuals and families struggling financially during the winter months across San Diego County.”

The six nonprofit grantees were selected because of their roots in the community and long-term impact in specific regions throughout San Diego County. Each of the regions has more than 100,000 residents living below 200% of the federal poverty level.

The organizations receiving grants and the amounts received are:

  • City Heights Community Development Corp.: $220,000;
  • South Bay Community Services: $180,000;
  • International Rescue Committee: $150,000;
  • Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee on Anti-Poverty: $150,000;
  • Social Advocates for Youth San Diego: $140,000; and
  • Interfaith Community Services: $160,000.

The six nonprofit organizations will distribute funding through their own networks to the clients and communities they serve.

“When COVID-19 hit, we saw a nearly 500% increase in families and individuals requesting support with food and basic needs assistance,” said Greg Angela, CEO of Interfaith Community Services.

“We have been working hard to provide essential services to families, as well as deep-dive case management support so that San Diegans have the tools they need to take control of their financial independence during the pandemic.”

The COVID-19 Community Response Fund has granted more than $56 million through over 244 grants to 200 nonprofit organizations.

These organizations provided computers, internet access, child care, food security, financial assistance, medical support, workforce training and other vital needs to the region’s most vulnerable communities.

More than $64 million has been raised for the community response fund through 3,500 individuals, businesses, foundations, government partnerships and donor-advised funds.

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