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Food, Essentials Distributed In The South Bay For The Holiday Season

Volunteers help to load cars of military families with food and essential goods at Elks Lodge in Chula Vista, Nov. 20, 2020.
Jacob Aere
Volunteers help to load cars of military families with food and essential goods at Elks Lodge in Chula Vista, Nov. 20, 2020.

Military families in Chula Vista, 350 in all, got produce boxes and essentials at a drive-through food distribution program on Friday.

The food drive was the third of the year in partnership between USO San Diego and U.S. Bank, but just the first of many food distribution efforts for families in the South Bay this holiday season.

Food, Essentials Distributed In The South Bay For The Holiday Season
Listen to this story by Jacob Aere.

Maria White is an air traffic controller for the U.S. Navy and said the events help feed her family.

“I have two little boys, a two-and-a-half-year-old and a one-year-old. Every time we come we get lots of produce, and dairy and meat and it really helps keep the grocery bills down,” said White.

Volunteers assisted with vehicle check-in and distribution of the boxes in a contact-free environment.

Ammar Abuyousef of U.S. Bank said the event is also an initiative to support regional farmers who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

“We’re working with a local farm called Smith Farms. We are giving out everything that is organic — we have kiwi, we have mangoes, we have oranges, so different kinds of fruit and vegetables,” he said.

RELATED: San Diego Food Bank Moves To ‘Super Pantries’ To Increase Distribution As Pandemic Continues

The fourth and final distribution event of the year will take place on Friday, December 18 from noon to 2:00 p.m. at the same location. Abuyousef said similar events will continue next year.

“It’s always important to give back, but I think this year more than ever with the pandemic. Unfortunately, we have more and more families that are needy,” he said. “I think, again, for us in San Diego it is more important for the military community, where we have close to 400,000 active-duty and veterans living in San Diego.”

Elsewhere in the South Bay, National City leaders plan to distribute free turkeys and COVID-19 safety kits this upcoming Tuesday at the National City Library Parking Lot, just in time for Thanksgiving.