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The Importance of the Work of Give San Diego

Give San Diego is a non-profit, culturally sensitive, community-based organization dedicated to serve and empower the underserved with a focus on the Muslim American and refugee population in San Diego County. Founded in 2017, Give San Diego has already established partnerships with 13 different community organizations, registered as an approved distribution site for the county-wide Diaper Bank Program, and hired its first caseworker to provide case management services.

Give San Diego operates three programs:

Food Rescue Program

Also known as Yusuf’s Pantry, the Food Rescue Program is the first open food pantry established and operated by Muslims in San Diego County. With over 500,000 people in San Diego unsure of where their next meal will come from (San Diego Food Systems Alliance, 2018), Yusuf’s Pantry aims to address the growing challenge of food insecurity in the community. The pantry was named after the religious and historic tradition of Prophet Yusuf/Joseph saving a nation from starvation. In the same spirit, Yusuf’s Pantry gives struggling families a much-needed opportunity to supplement their food and nutrition needs. Since the pantry’s grand opening in May 2018, Give San Diego has rescued and distributed over 21,000 pounds of food and served over 950 individuals. In addition to providing food, the pantry stocks hygiene items (e.g. diapers, shampoo, and laundry detergent). These items are not subsidized under government assistance programs like CalFresh, which make them prohibitively expensive for many families. All clients are afforded dignity and privacy while using the pantry through a confidential appointment system.

Family Assistance Program

The Family Assistance Program is Give San Diego’s flagship Zakah distribution initiative operating in collaboration with the Islamic Center of San Diego. With a dedicated caseworker on staff, the program allows low-income families to apply for financial assistance for food, utility bills, childcare, or other emergency needs. The caseworker works closely with families to conduct assessments, triage for immediate needs, and make recommendations for assistance. Case management services are provided with culturally and linguistically relevant resources, with bilingual staff, interns, and volunteers and forms available in English, Arabic, and Spanish. Clients work collaboratively with the caseworker to develop a case management plan and collectively work towards a goal of self-sufficiency.

Resource Assistance Program

The Resource Assistance directs low-income families to services, programs, and resources in the community to address any outstanding needs not covered by the Food Rescue or Family Assistance programs. Resources and referrals are available for medical, dental, financial, education, nutrition, legal, transportation, and professional development needs. Community resources are proactively assessed to help clients navigate any cultural or linguistic barriers they may face in seeking services.

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