MTS buses at select Vons supermarkets collect food to feed hungry San Diegans this holiday season

Media Release 
November 10, 2009 

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Chargers and MTS announced today they are partnering on a series of food drives this week that will end with a game day food drive at Sunday’s Chargers vs. Philadelphia game at Qualcomm Stadium. 

Collecting the food starts with MTS hosting “Stuff the Bus Food Drives” at select Vons supermarket parking lots where the public is invited to fill an MTS bus full of food to feed hungry San Diegans over the holiday season. 

The Chargers and MTS launched the food drive during a press conference at Qualcomm Stadium that featured Food Bank board member Jerry Swain (who also is the founder and CEO Jer's Handmade Chocolates), Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, Chargers COO Jim Steeg, MTS Chairman Harry Mathis and San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts 

“Government and private business can only do so much,” said Supervisor Roberts. “We need the community and our neighbors to join with us in contributing food, time, and maybe even a little cash, so that thousands of our neighbors will make it through this holiday season with one less thing to worry about -- whether they have enough food.” 

On Sunday, Nov. 15 the Chargers will host a game day food drive at Qualcomm Stadium with the Food Bank’s famous red food drive collection barrels at every stadium entrance. 

The Food Bank is appealing to the community to support the food drives since it is currently feeding record numbers of San Diegans. Food Bank officials say that this year’s food drive is of critical importance. All food collected will help the Food Bank meet the exponential increase in demand, especially over the holiday season. 

Food drive locations include: 

-- Tuesday, Nov. 10, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Vons at 6555 Mission Gorge Road in Grantville. 
-- Wednesday, Nov. 11, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Vons at 5555 Balboa Avenue in Clairemont. 
-- Thursday, Nov. 12, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Vons at 3610 Adams Ave. in Normal Heights. 
-- Friday, Nov.13, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Vons at 665 Saturn Street in South County near Imperial Beach. 
-- Sunday Nov. 15, Noon to 3 p.m. at Qualcomm Stadium during the Chargers vs. Philadelphia game. 

“MTS is pleased to unite with the Chargers to once again help the community with a food drive,” said Paul Jablonski, Metropolitan Transit System CEO. “Stuff the Bus has become an important tradition at MTS and we hope our combined efforts will help those in need.” 

The San Diego Food Bank cites its distribution statistics at the start of the food drive campaign that show double and triple digit increases in demand from cities across the county. 

The Food Bank’s figures compare the amount of food it distributed during the first two quarters of 2008 with the same period this year. 

From January to June, the amount of food distributed to the needy doubled and tripled in key cities across the county. The number of meals distributed by the Food Bank in the City of San Diego alone increased from 1.6 million to 2.4 million. 

Based on the number of people enrolled on Food Bank programs and reports from its nonprofit partners, the number of people served by the Food Bank every month has increased from 200,000 to 304,000 from 2008 to 2009, an increase of 52 percent. 

“We are so grateful to MTS and the Chargers for supporting the Food Bank with these important food drives,” said Food Bank CEO J. Scofield Hage. “Getting more food donated to the Food Bank will be critical this year with demand soaring. We are feeding more people than ever before, but it is due to the help of organizations like MTS and the Chargers that we are able to meet the increased need.”