Political Leaders Distribute Federal Food Aid—and Advice on Wearing Masks

October 16, 2020

Congressman Scott Peters joined Assemblymember Todd Gloria and State Senate Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, along with local non-profits, to help distribute federal food aid. As we work to protect families during the pandemic, it is crucial that we provide food relief and security to those who need it. Unfortunately, the boxes contained notes from President Trump describing masks as optional. Politicizing masks poses a direct threat to the health and safety of every American, and we must keep each other safe by listening to scientists and following all public health guidelines.

This is further described in an October 16th piece by the Times of San Diego, posted below:

Political Leaders Distribute Federal Food Aid—and Advice on Wearing Masks

By Chris Jennewein

October 16th, 2020

Three of San Diego’s most influential political leaders joined seven local nonprofits on Friday to begin distributing 2,500 boxes of federal food aid and encourage hungry residents to disregard President Trump’s advice on masks.

Rep. Scott Peters, state Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assemblymember Todd Gloria spoke briefly in front of large stacks of USDA Farmers to Familes [sic] Food Boxes at Jewish Family Service of San Diego, which has provided nearly 1 million meals since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The boxes contain a letter from President Trump describing masks as optional during the pandemic, but Atkins added her own letter offering “accurate information” as well as masks and hand sanitizer to the boxes.

“Personally, I’m offended by the letter. I recently lost my uncle to COVID-19,” she said.

Gloria, who is seeking election as Mayor of San Diego in November, also criticized the President’s political message. “When the need is greatest, we need to put partisanship aside,” he said.

And Peters agreed, saying, “These kinds of relief programs are crucial to the COVID-19 relief effort and I’m disappointed that the president chose to politicize this taxpayer funded assistance.”

The social service agencies distributing the boxes included Jewish Family Service, the San Diego Food Bank, People Assisting the Homeless, Paving Great Futures, Veterans Village of San Diego, Serving Seniors and the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council.

The labor council, which represents 136 unions, has been holding food distribution events on weekends at the stadium in Mission Valley.

“There’re a lot of people still hurting. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help,” said Keith Maddox, executive secretary-treasurer of the council.

James Floros, president and CEO of the food bank, said he expected an increased need for free food in the community for at least two more years due to unemployment and other disruptions from the coronavirus.

“There could be a million people in San Diego County who are now food insecure,” he said.




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