North County EDC Business Journal

FALL 2017 // ISSUE 17

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BY LARRY URISH O xygen. Food. Water. Shelter. Anyone who has ever lived in sur- vival mode knows that once these basic needs are met, pretty much everything else is just details. Too many people in North County aren't get- ting enough food, and chronic hunger is a fast track toward poverty. The people at the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank – which expanded to North County in 2015 – are aware of this, and they want to help. We spoke with Jim Floros, the nonprofit's presi- dent and CEO, about the or- ganization's critical mission, its new relationship with the San Diego North Economic Development Council, and what lies ahead in the future. • • • What prompted the growth of the San Diego Food Bank into North County? Although we've always served North County, we saw that the region was seriously underserved, so we expanded our efforts there in 2015. We needed a North County hub to do this. The expansion went very smoothly. We've been able to double the amount of food served in the area since then, feeding an ad- ditional 30,000 hungry resi- dents per month. We believe the best way to break the cycle of poverty – in North County and far beyond – is through education. And childhood education starts with nutrition. The chances of getting a good education go down without proper nutri- tion. Working to break this cycle of poverty through proper nutrition is exciting for all of us. We like to say that, "If you don't eat, you can't learn, and if you don't learn, you can't earn." • • • Roughly how much food does your organization dis- tribute? We distribute about 26 mil- lion pounds of food per year to more than 400 nonprofits throughout San Diego County. Any nonprofit in the area that has any sort of feed- ing program probably gets food from us. And nearly 9 million pounds of that total is composed of fresh produce. That's a high percentage for food banks, but we'd love to get that figure to 50 percent. Fresh produce goes a long way toward good nutrition, especially for those who are hungry. • • • What types of nonprofit organizations do you assist? That ranges from all the big guys – Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and Jewish Family Services, among oth- ers – to the little community food pantries and small church groups that serve, let's say, 30 people once a week. I especially love those little groups. We like to empower any group of any size. • • • You recently partnered with the San Diego North EDC. How do you see this partnership developing? We've learned a lot about North County in the last two years, that it's an entirely sep- arate community located be- tween San Diego and Orange County. We're also learning about some of the key players in North County. I've been very fortunate to attend l Q&A NORTH COUNTY BUSINESS JOURNAL x FALL 2017 x fi JIM FLOROS n HEAD OF SAN DIEGO FOOD BANK DISCUSSES HUNGER ISSUES IN NORTH COUNTY "We distribute about 26 million pounds of food per year to more than 400 nonprofits throughout San Diego County. " – JIM FLOROS, President and CEO of San Diego Food Bank

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