by Photo by Sarah Berjan

The United Way of San Diego donated Crockpots to benefit over 100 local military families experiencing food insecurity this holiday season. 

The nonprofit’s inaugural “CrockPot Drive'' happened from Oct. 18 through Nov.12 and collected 130 crock pots. Those donations will be distributed on Saturday, Nov. 20 at an in-person Thanksgiving Meal Distribution hosted by Support The Enlisted Project (STEP). 

Registered families are invited to decorate their vehicles and dress in festive attire during this drive-through style event. Three families with the best decorated vehicles will be selected to receive a free laptop. The partnership between UWSD and STEP aims to provide meals and stability for active duty service members, veterans and their families.

“Our families are so grateful. Military service families are very humble. They don't like to ask for help so when they do come and get their items they’re just sometimes overwhelmed and sometimes very happy about it but always grateful,” Tracy Owens, STEP Programs Manager and retired Navy veteran said. 

As a part of UWSD’s mission to bring education and stability to families, crockpots provide ways to cook large quantities of food with SNAP approved ingredients at home safely, sustainably with easier meal preparation and the opportunity to stretch a dollar. 

“We hope that  military families can have great meal experiences. That will relieve a bit of stress, especially if a partner or spouse is not here with them to help out. Families can come home after throwing food in the Crockpot and dinner is ready," Nancy Sasaki, President and CEO of the United Way of San Diego County said. 

Studies show that 1,034,579 San Diegans (1/3 of the population) are food insecure, meaning they cannot provide three nutritious meals for themselves or their family per day. This is an increase from pre-pandemic years. According to UWSD, minority members of the community are disproportionately impacted by food insecurity. 

In addition 39 percent of San Diego’s children are food insecure. Many families rely on hunger relief assistance like UWSD’s “Holiday Crockpot Drive” due to the cost of living in San Diego. 

“These are definitely trying times. All of that has been anxiety and stress producing. We have seen families struggle whether it’s putting a roof over their head, or food on the table,” Nancy Sasaki stated, “ These Crockpots can help families for years to come. It’s just great to be able to give back and do something just a little bit different.”

Registration to attend the in-person Thanksgiving Meal Distribution is required. Visit for more information. Food to supplement for two weeks will be provided to families. 

The public may still make food donations on weekdays at 9915 Businesspark Ave., Suite A, San Diego, CA 92131. Those who wish to make monetary donations may visit the UWSD’s website.

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