Local volunteers assemble 1.5 million meals to be donated to people in Tijuana and Zambia


Nearly 4,000 volunteers put together 1.5 million meals on June 10 and 11 at Cathedral Catholic High School in Carmel Valley for the second annual Million Meal Event.

“Anybody that did it last year wanted to do it again,” said Mike Daniels, a deacon at St. Brigid Parish in Pacific Beach, one of the organizers. “It’s just a really fun event. It’s a total family event, we have people from [age] 6 to 96.”

A little more than 1,000 volunteers showed up for each of three shifts, two on Saturday and one on Sunday. The teams on each shift came together assembly-line style to pack about 500,000 meals for distribution. Parishes, schools, clubs and families were encouraged to organize into volunteer groups.

Daniels added that about half a million meals will be going to Casa de los Pobres, a facility in Tijuana that distributes food to those in need. The other million will be going to Zambia.

“A million and a half meals feeds a lot of hungry people,” Daniels said.

During last year’s event, the food drive benefited the poorest families in Tijuana, the Philippines and Africa, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego. The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, which runs Casa de los Pobres, distributed meal packets twice a month in Tijuana to the families that showed up at the facility by foot and bus.

“The meal packets were tangible proof that individuals, families and parishes gladly put their faith in action to ease a child’s hunger and to bring them hope,” according to the event page on the diocese website.