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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Twenty percent of the monetary donations to Aztecs Rock Hunger go directly to SDSU's Economic Crisis Response Team.

Aztecs Rock Hunger Enjoys Success in First-Ever Largely Virtual Campaign

The annual Aztecs Rock Hunger food drive raised 344,137 pounds of food for San Diegans in need.
By SDSU News Team

“We realized it was okay if we couldn’t change the world so long as we could change somebody’s world, and we did that this year one pound of food at a time.”

San Diego State University’s annual Aztecs Rock Hunger food drive collected 344,137 pounds for The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, marking another high-achieving year for the campaign and a successful shift to the virtual space.

“This year’s campaign was a testament to what SDSU and San Diego is all about,” said Associated Students Vice President of Financial Affairs Victor Penera. “No matter the situation, we continued to adapt and overcome because we understood that now more than ever our community needed us.”

The demand for food distribution in San Diego County remains at an all-time high and, prior to the pandemic, the San Diego Food Bank served 350,000 people each month. Since March, the number of people served monthly has spiked to an estimated 600,000. 

“Aztecs Rock Hunger is led by Associated Students, but wouldn’t be what it is today without the help of our entire community,” said Penera. “We encountered many challenges this year, but we turned those challenges into new opportunities and new ways of raising awareness of food insecurity and spreading our message to as many people as could. We realized it was okay if we couldn’t change the world so long as we could change somebody’s world, and we did that this year one pound of food at a time. Thank you to everyone who joined us in our fight against food insecurity.”

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on gathering, this year’s campaign looked different than earlier years with a shift to a primarily virtual format. Between Sept. 28 and Oct. 18, SDSU’s community was invited to donate virtually on the Aztecs Rock Hunger website. Donations were also accepted via Venmo @aztecsrockhunger2020; in-person at on-campus Starbucks, eateries and markets; and also at local businesses in the College Area. The campaign also featured two new virtual events, including the Aztecs Rock Hunger Virtual 5K and the Faculty Staff Get Together, Give Back event, which raised $5,000 in one hour. 

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the students, faculty and administration at San Diego State University for supporting the Food Bank during this unprecedented public health crisis that has had a devastating impact on our community and local economy forcing tens of thousands of families to seek help from the Food Bank,” said James Floros, the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank president and CEO. 

“With record unemployment, skyrocketing food insecurity and the holidays around the corner, food drive donations will be critical to the Food Bank this year since we are currently feeding nearly 600,000 people per month due to the pandemic and soaring need,” Floros said. 

Aztecs Rock Hunger is a universitywide initiative led by Associated Students in collaboration with several partners both on- and off-campus. Since 2010, Aztecs Rock Hunger has raised 3.3 million pounds of food for the San Diego Food Bank. 

“Since the food drive started in 2010, every year SDSU steps up to the plate and donates hundreds of thousands of meals to help us fight hunger in our community,” said Floros. “This year, SDSU has risen to the occasion despite tremendous challenges due to the pandemic. The Aztec family has united in support of the 2020 Aztecs Rock Hunger Food Drive to help all of our neighbors in need. On behalf of the Food Bank’s staff and family of volunteers, we are so deeply grateful to everyone at SDSU for feeding those in need during this heightened time of need in our community.”

Aztecs Rock Hunger also directly assists SDSU students. The food and monetary donations collected through the campaign provide the food, including fresh produce for the A.S. Food Pantry, which provides an average of 100,000 pounds of food each year to SDSU students. Additionally, 20% of the monetary donations go directly to SDSU's Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT). The ECRT uses the donations to provide short-term and long-term aid to students experiencing a crisis, including food insecurity. In fall 2019, the ECRT served about 200 students. Since March 2020, the team has served over 1,200 students. Students can request ECRT assistance online