Cots being set up in the San Diego Convention Center shelter. Photo credit: Courtesy of the convention center

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, 1 million meals have been served to members of the homeless community sheltering at the San Diego Convention Center, officials announced Thursday.

Several thousand meals have been served daily at the convention center shelter, also known as Operation Shelter to Home. City officials say the emergency shelter has served nearly 4,000 people since it opened April 1, 2020 and connected more than 1,200 to permanent or longer-term housing.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria credited the convention center and Centerplate – which serves the center’s food and beverages – for being “an integral part of Operation Shelter to Home’s core mission to keep San Diegans experiencing homelessness safe during this pandemic. This milestone and all of their contributions during the past year to those sheltering in the Convention Center reflect the commitment we have as a city to addressing homelessness together.”

Bobby Ramirez, the convention center’s food and beverage general manager, says the operation has been an everyday effort, which has included special meals for holidays and events like the Super Bowl earlier this month.

“In our line of business, we know how to feed a lot of people – sometimes tens of thousands per day – so we know how to be nimble and solve problems,” Ramirez said. “Our top priority continues to be the safety and health of our consumers and employees amid the biggest health crisis the world has seen in the last 100 years.”

The shelter is currently funded through the end of next month.

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