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Valley Farm Market Donates Thousands Of Meals To Those In Need

Valley Farm Market owner Derek Marso (left) and volunteers getting ready to h...

Credit: Matt Hoffman/Derek Marso

Above: Valley Farm Market owner Derek Marso (left) and volunteers getting ready to handout meals in Spring Valley (right).

With thousands of San Diegans out of work because of the pandemic, a local grocer is stepping up to help feed those impacted.

Valley Farm Market owner Derek Marso’s campaign to feed those in need started in March. Now over 3,000 meals have been given out countywide.

"Behind it was just the thought, 'What happens if both parents lose their jobs and have the kids at home?'" Marso said. "There’s no reason for anyone to go without food, and we’re blessed to be in a position where we have an amazing staff and amazing community that’s bought in, and we’re able to give people some groceries and some meals so they don’t have to be scared during this pandemic."

People can sign up to get a meal or donate at here. Marso and his team prepare the meals for pickups on Wednesdays and Saturdays at his Spring Valley store. He has made it a point not to publicize the pickups.

"I don’t want anyone to feel weird coming to get help," Marso said. "You shouldn’t be ashamed of it. This isn’t anything anyone saw coming so to allow them to feel comfortable, we’ve had people that have come every time to pick up meals ,and that’s what it’s for."

Valley Farm Market has locations in Spring Valley and La Jolla.

"Gross sales are up, but with that comes a lot of added costs that people don’t understand," Marso said.

Both stores have cleaning crews coming in every night. "And sanitizing the whole store," Marso said. "We don’t take this lightly. We we spend a ton of money on masks, gloves, masks, sanitizer. Anything we can to make sure we're protected and safe."

Valley Farms is known for its high quality meats. Marso is working to keep shelves stocked as food prices are constantly changing.

"We’re seeing a lot of meat prices fluctuate, go up and go down, so not really sure. Do I raise prices, do I drop prices? So we’re really just trying feel out the whole industry right now," Marso said.

As long as there is a need for meals in the community, Marso will keep donating.

"You want to find your substance, and my substance isn’t a monetary value," Marso said. "My substance is — it’s something that touches the soul. And so if I can find that and that helps me there, that feeds me. That gives me the fire to continue to do the positive things. My team has been amazing and they buy into that so we're just going to keep doing it as long as it's needed."

Listen to this story by Tarryn Mento.

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Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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