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August 1, 2010 Clubs and Organizations

AmericanTowns Heroes: Teens Give a Hand Up to Hungry Neighbors

The volunteers at the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry like to say they are offering people a hand up and not a hand out. The difference is their good works go beyond donating food. Case managers are available wherever food is distributed to offer help with other vital services.

The food pantry is run by teens who coordinate food drives, fundraisers and donations as well as help with the packaging and delivery. The dedicated group of approximately 35 teens supply food at a dozen locations throughout San Diego, where currently, some 480,000 people are struggling to put food on the table every day.

During the 2009-2010 school year, the Hand Up Student Executive Committee coordinated 15 food drives; secured more than 7,500 pounds of donated food and raised nearly $10,000 for the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry. They earned the President's Silver Volunteer Service Award as a result of having volunteered more than 800 hours of service to their community. 

The young people participate in leadership training and mentoring programs to equip them for their jobs at the pantry as well as to help them out in the real world, once they graduate.

The Hand Up Food Youth Pantry is part of Jewish Family Services, which has been helping to feed the hungry since 1918. There are many ways you can get involved, including volunteering your time.

If you would like to nominate someone you admire as an AmericanTowns Hero, send an email to

Read about more AmericanTowns Hereoes.

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