San Diego Food Bank-Virtual Food Bank-Covid-19-primary photo

San Diego Regional Water Agencies Help Fight Hunger During Pandemic

An effort to bolster food bank supplies and fight hunger in San Diego County is getting a helping hand from the region’s public water agencies.

The San Diego County Water Authority and its member agencies are supporting a virtual food drive in partnership with the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. The campaign allows donors to select and purchase items such as canned meats, vegetables, fruits, peanut butter and oatmeal for distribution to needy residents. To donate, go to

The Water Authority Board leadership launched the effort for staff and Board members in late March, then expanded it by inviting 24 retail member agencies countywide to join the effort to fight hunger. So far, approximately $20,000 has been contributed through donation portals established by the Water Authority and member agencies.

Help fight hunger

In addition, water agencies have partnered with the Food Bank to inform its clients that it is unnecessary to purchase bottled water when convenient, clean drinking water is available 24/7 at the tap for about a penny a gallon.

“The region’s water industry is committed to sustaining our community in this time of acute need,” said Water Authority Board Chair Jim Madaffer. “The San Diego region has come together time and again to meet challenges such as wildfires, and we’re doing the same to provide hunger relief during this crisis.”

Demands for food increase during pandemic

The San Diego Food Bank typically helps feed 350,000 people each month at 200 distribution sites — and demands have skyrocketed as the economic impacts of coronavirus closures ripple across the region.

Donations to the San Diego Food Bank are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. The San Diego Food Bank is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Essential workers on the job

In response to the pandemic, the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have increased regional coordination and communication to ensure continued delivery of safe and reliable water service for San Diego County. Public water supplies in the region remain safe to drink due to numerous robust treatment processes used by local and regional water providers.

As essential workers, the region’s water and wastewater system employees will continue to work to ensure safe and reliable water services.

Helix Water District Employees Fundraiser Not Just Food for Thought

“Helix Helps,” the Helix Water District’s employee volunteer program, started a “virtual food drive” on Wednesday in partnership with the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, and had raised more than $1,860 Friday morning, with more expected.

San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors Chair Jim Madaffer-primary-View from the Chair

Jim Madaffer: Adjusting to the New Normal

As we adjust to the new – and hopefully temporary – realities of this pandemic, it’s worth reflecting on the good that is happening in our community, our state and our nation.

  • Doctors and nurses are bravely treating the sick by the thousands.
  • Grocery store employees are working long hours to stock shelves and serve customers.
  • Restaurants are evolving to offer takeout, and customers are showing up to support them.
  • Houses of worship are meeting remotely.
  • Companies are transitioning to make ventilators, sanitizers and other products that are so necessary.

Of course, food banks are also doing tremendous work to support residents who are suddenly without a paycheck. That’s why the Board leadership of the San Diego County Water Authority is joining regional efforts to fight the economic impacts of the pandemic by setting up a virtual food drive in partnership with the San Diego Food Bank.

The San Diego Food Bank helps feed hundreds of thousands of hungry people each year – and the numbers are growing rapidly. The Water Authority’s virtual food drive allows donors to select and purchase items such as canned meats, fruits, peanut butter and oatmeal for distribution to needy residents. Click here to donate – and don’t forget to share the link with family, friends and others who may want to participate.

I’ve heard it said that true colors come through during a crisis, which is why I’m proud to report that our regional efforts to safeguard our water supplies have generated substantial regional and even national attention in recent days. Click here for a great story by 10News San Diego.

We’re going to keep it up as long as needed to beat this thing.

View From The Chair represents the viewpoints of Jim Madaffer, Chair of the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors.