SACRAMENTO – Today, Senator Steve Padilla (D-San Diego) joined by San Ysidro Health President and CEO, Kevin Mattson, San Ysidro Health Board Chair, Macario Guitierrez, and San Ysidro Health leadership celebrated $2 million secured in the 2023/2024 state budget for the non-profit to establish a much needed refrigerated food distribution center at Camp Lockett in Campo serving rural San Diego County. Prior to the celebration, the attendees toured a clinic in Chula Vista and discussed the challenges organizations face as they address food insecurity issues in historically underserved communities in San Diego County.
Roughly, 1 in every 4 San Diego County residents are impacted of food insecurity, an issue that was only exacerbated by the pandemic. In rural San Diego, Feeding San Diego noted a 66% increase in the amount of food it distributed two years into the pandemic than the year immediately before. Currently, there are no fixed site food distribution centers in the Mountain Empire region of San Diego County. As such, food suppliers are forced to transport food from warehouses elsewhere, a 100-mile round trip limiting the volume of food able to be distributed.
Now, with the $2 million secured in the budget by Senator Padilla, San Ysidro Health will have the means to renovate one of the buildings at their Camp Lockett location, converting it into a fixed refrigerated food distribution center, better equipped to service families in rural San Diego. The funds will be used to modernize the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC infrastructure of the building, to build food storage spaces, including a pantry and walk-in refrigerator, and build out offices for staff on-site. San Ysidro Health expects the Camp Lockett site will address food insecurity in over 1,100 households in the first year of operations alone.
“Food distribution centers mean the difference between a family putting food on the table or a child going to bed hungry. It is critical that we fund programs like this to ensure that all underserved communities don’t just gain access to food, but also nutritious options, because we know good nutrition is the cornerstone to better health outcomes,” said Senator Padilla. “I am so proud to secure these funds for San Ysidro Health to expand its operations and continue its mission of serving those in need and making a difference across our region.”
“Good health starts with access to healthy foods,” said Kevin Mattson, President and CEO of San Ysidro Health. “Food security serves as a social determinant of health and barriers to access nutritious non-perishable items such as vegetables can contribute to preventable chronic diseases experienced by our isolated seniors and children in the Mountain Empire. For this reason, San Ysidro Health immensely thanks Senator Steve Padilla for his leadership in securing this $2 million investment to increase access to enriching food. Specifically, funds will establish a vital food distribution center in the community of Campo at Camp Lockett. Finally, through our partnership with Feeding San Diego, San Ysidro estimates to serve over 1,100 households during the first year of the food distribution center’s operations and provide at least 2 million pounds of food.”
Steve Padilla represents the 18th Senate District, which includes the communities of Chula Vista, the Coachella Valley, Imperial Beach, the Imperial Valley, National City, and San Diego. Prior to his election to the Senate in 2022, Senator Padilla was the first person of color ever elected to city office in Chula Vista, the first Latino Mayor, and the first openly LGBT person to serve or be elected to city office. Website of Senator Steve Padilla: https://sd18.senate.ca.gov/