Torrey Pines Food Bank Club holds virtual food drive

The TPHS Food Bank Club: top row (left to right) Mark Ratzer, Adam Slack, Alec Helfrich, Matan Morris, Jack Martinez, Luke Emri, Jake Noble, Jack Helsel, Jayden Schaffer and Nikki Sadeghi. Bottom row (left to right) George Cui, Adam Wehba, Daniel Hoffman, Greta Boatcher, Meia Voss and Crystal Li.

During this unprecedented time of need, the Torrey Pines High School Food Bank Club started an online food drive, raising $2,004 for the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. The food bank’s demands are growing rapidly during the pandemic and as each dollar donates five meals, the students have already raised enough for 10,000 meals.

“It’s a great fundraiser for an even better cause that I’m glad to be a part of. It’s great to know what an impact even just a few dollars can make,” said Torrey Pines sophomore Matan Morris. “The fundraiser could not have come at a better time for those in need.”

The San Diego Food Bank is committed to providing food assistance and resources to the 350,000 people that it serves every month in addition to those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. By mid-March, that number had grown to 600,000 and they expect the number to grow in April. Thousands of people came to three large-scale emergency food distribution events in April, including one at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. A 25-pound bag of food was placed into trunks of cars as they drove through and while 4,000 were served, thousands were turned away as they ran out of food. Rather than continue the mass food distribution events, the food bank is now sending more food to hundreds of non-profit partners in the communities it serves.

Jack Martinez, a Torrey Pines sophomore, started the Food Bank Club last August with junior Jake Noble. Both are on the youth leadership council at the San Diego Food Bank.

“I immediately had a connection with it,” said Jack of his first time visiting the food bank. “The most shocking part was the number of people who were food insecure.”

He most connected to the food bank’s Food 4 Kids backpack program, learning that many kids weren’t eating from Friday afternoon to Monday morning because they only ate school-provided meals. The program provides weekend food packages to elementary school students from low-income households who are at risk of hunger over the weekend.

Jack and Jake brought the club to their school and gained 30 new members who all started frequently volunteering. During Thanksgiving last year, 14 members woke up at 4 a.m. to help volunteer at the San Diego Run for the Hungry in downtown San Diego. With more volunteer shifts, the club has contributed hundreds of hours to the food bank.

“I joined the TPHS Food Bank club to help those in need to expand my horizons while volunteering,” said member and sophomore Augie Breeze. “After learning about the disparities in San Diego, I felt as if I should do something to help, and this club was the perfect opportunity.”

During the pandemic, many students have increased volunteering amid the crisis, however, with limited availability, they were not able to volunteer as much as they wanted to.

“We still wanted to help,” Jack said of the idea to set up the online food drive.

To help raise awareness for the online drive, he spread the word through Facebook— “an easy way to reach adults"—and in two weeks raised just over $2,000. The club’s goal is to raise $2,500 and to continue helping the food bank feed more people in need.

To contribute to the drive, visit