San Diego Food Bank’s New President Talks About Challenges Ahead
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Aired 1/8/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.
The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank has named a new president and CEO. James Floros, most recently the head of the San Diego Burn Institute, will lead the organization through what continues to be challenging times.
The Food Bank is serving a record number of San Diegans in need, while it braces for more government cuts to food programs.
Despite the challenges that lie ahead, Floros said he's excited about the job.
"It's a totally local organization, so I love the idea of it being a community resource, and I love the fact that San Diegans can embrace their food bank and really benefit their community," he said. "And the face of hunger, I don't think I fully realized how much of a problem hunger is in our community, and I think people are stunned when they hear some of the statistics."
One out of six people in San Diego County, or nearly half a million people, are "food insecure," Floros said, meaning they have reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet. "You have working poor, they say the unemployment numbers are coming down, but you have a lot of people that aren't seeking jobs or they're underemployed. We serve 350,000 people per month. It's a full-fledged effort, and we struggle to keep up with the demand."
Floros said the Food Bank is still seeing increased demand.
"We do about 18 million pounds of food each year, and we probably could use 20 million," he said. "We get a lot of USDA support on some of our programs, and we're trying to supplement the programs so we can buy fresh produce. So we're raising money to purchase fresh produce to supplement some of the programs."
Floros is from Wisconsin and attended the University of San Diego. He interned at Project Concern International and said there he "fell in love" with the nonprofit world. He spent eight years at PCI, and then another 20 years at the Burn institute.
Full disclosure: Irwin Jacobs is a major donor to the Food Bank and a major contributor to KPBS.