Senate Leader Atkins, Community Partners Distribute Thousands of Free USDA Food Boxes, Masks to Families in Need

October 16, 2020

SACRAMENTO – In an effort to help San Diego families impacted by the financial hardships heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), Congressman Scott Peters (D-San Diego), and Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) joined with community partners today to distribute thousands of free USDA food boxes and masks to those in need.

The one-day distribution event, held at Jewish Family Service of San Diego, drew San Diego families and individuals, as well as community nonprofits and organizations, which will be distributing the 2,496 food boxes to their clients. The USDA food boxes include fresh produce, as well as dairy products, meat, and other groceries. The food boxes are part of the federal Farmers to Families Food Boxes program that began in May. The program is set to end this month.

Senator Atkins also arranged to have free masks and hand sanitizer distributed with the boxes, along with a letter that includes information from the California Department of Public Health and the CDC on COVID-19 precautions and mask use.

“Keeping our community and neighbors safe, and providing access to resources has been among our highest priorities during this pandemic. With so many families struggling to make ends meet, simple things like a box of free food and a handful of masks can help ease a bit of the strain,” Atkins said. “I’m also grateful to our state and community partners – OES, the Governor’s Office, and COPE Preparedness – who worked with us to provide masks, as science shows us that this precaution is proven to be extremely effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Our San Diego community has done a tremendous job with using masks and adopting practices to keep our COVID-19 infection rates on the decline – we must continue that good work.”

U.S. Representative Scott Peters said the food box program is critical in helping families stretch their budgets during these challenging times.

“The USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program supports farmers and provides a critical lifeline to families in times of need. COVID-19 has taken an economic toll on nearly every region and industry across the country, and today’s delivery helped 2,500 struggling San Diegans put food on their tables,” Congressman Peters said. “These kinds of relief programs are crucial to the COVID-19 relief effort and I’m disappointed that the president chose to politicize this taxpayer funded assistance. We have families in need of food. Partisan politics should not interfere with our ability to make sure people eat.”

Assemblymember Todd Gloria said supporting San Diego families during the pandemic has been, and remains, a top priority.

“Even in the seventh month of this pandemic, there is still is a pressing need to provide relief to San Diegans at this time,” said Assemblymember Gloria. “Many families are going without basic essentials such as food, masks, and hand sanitizer that they need to get by. I am grateful to see our state and community partners provide these important resources to those in need. I commend Senate Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, as well as every organization involved in this effort to support struggling families during this public health crisis.”

The community partners included Jewish Family Service, the San Diego Food Bank, San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council, People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), Paving Great Futures, Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD), and Serving Seniors.




Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins:


PDF Version of the Letter Provided With The Distribution