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How the Food Services Program Helps Neighbors Thrive

Each day, nearly 450,000 San Diegans struggle to put food on the table and more than 170,000 of those suffering from hunger are children. 

With 1 in 3 neighbors facing food insecurity, Father Joe’s Villages’ Food Services program is a critical lifeline for homeless men, women and children in need. To combat hunger among homeless neighbors in San Diego, Father Joe’s Villages’ Food Services program serves hot, nourishing meals 365 days a year. In 2020 alone, Father Joe’s Villages provided meals to more than 9,200 people in the community struggling with poverty and homelessness.

Why Access to Healthy Meals is Important

Numerous studies have found that lack of food is associated with significantly greater odds of hospitalization, higher utilization rates of emergency services and an increased risk of health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Access to even just one meal a day can drastically reduce the likelihood of short- and long-term health problems caused by lack of nutrition or even starvation. 

That’s why each meal served through Father Joe’s Villages’ Food Services program is designed to ensure neighbors get their daily helping of vegetables, protein, and whole grains.  

These meals provide more than just a basic means of survival. When neighbors no longer need to worry about where they will get their next meal, they are able to spend more time and energy focused on overcoming homelessness. Food security enables neighbors to focus less on hunger and more on creating a better life.  

“Hunger brings weakness and sickness. It’s hard to help yourself or work for a better life when all you can think about is how hungry you are.” 

Eddie, Former Father Joe’s Villages Resident

The Franklin Antonio Public Lunch Program

The Franklin Antonio Public Lunch program, located in the Paul Mirabile Center, is open to the public and is directed towards people living without shelter. Each day, thousands of our homeless neighbors in need can receive a hot, nutritious meal served to them from the Franklin Antonio Public Lunch Line.

Not only does the Franklin Antonio Public Lunch program offer daily meals, it also provides Father Joe’s Villages with the opportunity to build trust with people living on the streets. After receiving meals through the Franklin Antonio Public Lunch program, our unsheltered neighbors are able to form relationships with staff who can connect them to more life-saving resources.

Additionally, our Food Services program serves three meals a day to residents of our short-term shelter programs on Father Joe’s Villages’ East Village campus.

Together, our kitchens serve an average of 1 million meals to men, women and children experiencing homelessness each year.

Meal Distribution Services

Since not everyone is capable of traveling to the East Village to access the Franklin Antonio Public Lunch Line, Father Joe’s Villages added new food service locations throughout the community, providing hundreds of additional meals each day.

Last year, our Food Services program distributed 29,000 frozen meals at off-site locations throughout the community including Hillcrest, Bankers Hill and Rachel’s Women’s Center downtown. 

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of boxes of food were personally delivered to long-term housing residents to ensure at-risk individuals and families had the food they needed during the shelter-in-place order. Father Joe’s Villages Culinary Arts program has continued to prepare, freeze and deliver hundreds of meals each month to neighbors in our supportive and rapid-rehousing programs.

Food Services by the Numbers

  • Each day, Father Joe’s Villages’ Food Services program provides lunch to 500-800 members of the community including homeless people and other low-income neighbors.  
  • Through the Franklin Antonio Public Lunch Line and remote meal distribution sites, our Food Services program provides an average of 50,000 meals a month. 
  • Altogether, our Food Services program serves an average of 2,000 meals each day. 
  • On average each year, Father Joe’s Villages serves 1 million hot, nutritious meals to our neighbors in need. 

While homelessness is a type of poverty, they do not share the same definition. Economic insecurity is most often the underlying cause of homelessness, and people experiencing poverty are at an increased risk of becoming homeless. 

How Father Joe’s Villages’ Thanksgiving Day 5K Helps

For a hungry neighbor in need, a healthy meal can be the difference between merely surviving and truly thriving.  

Father Joe’s Villages’ Thanksgiving Day 5K is imperative to ensuring hungry San Diegans can continue to receive the sustenance they need 365 days a year. The Thanksgiving Day 5K brings thousands of people together to raise critical funds for Father Joe’s Villages’ Food Services program. By participating in the Thanksgiving Day 5K, you ensure that those most vulnerable in the community have access to life-saving meals.

Father Joe’s Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K helps fund:

  • 18,000 pounds of food used daily by the Food Services program to feed hungry San Diegans in need.
  • Three daily meals for residents living in Father Joe’s Villages Emergency Shelter.
  • Daily nutritious lunches for community members in need through the Franklin Antonio Public Lunch Line. 

Help Father Joe’s Villages work to provide nutrition, sustenance and hope to people experiencing homelessness by registering for our annual Thanksgiving Day 5K. Your registration could fund over 15 nutritious meals for people experiencing homelessness. Register online today.