Our mission is to help end the interconnected epidemic of hunger, obesity and diabetes rampant in low income communities in America. We do it by providing natural, whole foods and the tools to turn it into great tasting, healthy meals.
Our fully loaded cost for a healthy meal is $.30, which is a small fraction the incremental medical expenses associated with unhealthy food.
1 cup
fresh produce
1/4 cup
dried grains
1/4 cup
dried beans
2 tablespoons healthy oil
667 calories for $.30

  What We Do

The Smart Food Foundation provides whole grains, dried beans, healthy oil, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and cooking spices, along with cooking and nutrition education, to help recipients turn these natural foods into healthy and delicious meals.

We buy in large bulk to keep our food costs to a minimum and depend entirely on volunteers. Our fully loaded cost is only $.30 per meal.  Our total program expense is 99.4%, which means that for every $1 contributed, $.994 goes directly towards providing meals to food insecure communities.  

We are currently providing ingredients for 65,520 healthy meals per month to food insecure communities in San Diego. But our larger goal is to help improve the diet of these communities whether they are eating food that we provide them for free, or whether they are buying the food themselves.

It's a myth that healthy food needs to be more expensive than unhealthy food. Even at retail prices, the cost of a healthy delicious meal is only about $1 if you know which ingredients to buy and how to cook them.

With the right knowledge, meals based on the healthiest natural ingredients are less expensive, tastier and much healthier than processed foods.

We are currently partnering with South Bay Community Services (Castle Park, Chula Vista, National City and Montgomery Middle Schools and Mar Vista Academy), Mission Middle School in Escondido and the Armed Services YMCA.  Our 7 partner sites help us to deliver these ingredients to low income and food insecure communities in the area, and to provide them with nutrition education, cooking demos and recipes.

  Why We Do It

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 49 million Americans live in households struggling against hunger. About 16 million are children - over 20% of all children in this country.

Through SNAP and a variety of charities, food insecure Americans don't starve in America. Instead they tend to get unhealthy highly processed foods, heavy in sugar and empty calories, that spike insulin levels and soon leave them even hungrier than they were before. It's created a situation where the poorest, most food insecure Americans are the most likely to become obese and diabetic. More than 1 in 3 low income adult Americans are obese. Almost 1 in 5 low income adult Americans have type 2 diabetes, though nearly all cases could be prevented with a healthy diet.  

The obesity and diabetes epidemic in food insecure communities in the US is a health care crisis.  Annual medical expenses are almost $3,000 higher for obese Americans than those of normal weight. Annual medical expenses are almost $8,000 higher for Americans with diabetes than those without.

Amortizing higher medical costs over meals eaten in a year, a meal that leads to obesity adds an additional $2.50/meal in medical costs. A meal that leads to diabetes adds more than $7/meal in medical costs.  But it only costs $.30 to provide the healthiest possible food to those that need it the most.

Investing in healthy food for food insecure Americans not only dramatically improves the quality of life for millions of low income Americans, but it pays for itself many times over just in terms of lower medical expenses and higher worker productivity.