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our mission

Porchlight Community Services illuminates individuals’ self-sufficiency and empowers people to achieve long-term financial security.

our why

Many families struggle to decide between keeping food on the table or keeping money aside for emergencies. We believe that, by providing a week’s worth of groceries, we can empower families to choose a future of financial security.

Families can then shift the money they typically spend on groceries to pay down debt, handle medical needs and home or vehicle repairs, and even save for an emergency fund.

We believe that our community depends on all of us working as a community.

We believe our families can achieve long-term financial security with access to healthy and nutritious food that fits their dietary needs. The money they save can be used to get back on the right track for a financially secure future.

We believe in mutual aid because contributions help sustain the pantry. Everybody wins. It also offers support to free food access when members fall on hard times and cannot contribute.

how we do it

We address economic empowerment by helping working individuals and families with food restrictions reach financial confidence. Job growth training and opportunities are offered within our organization.

We aid in the fight to end food insecurity by supplying food that suits individuals’ unique dietary needs. If you’re looking for gluten-free, dairy-free, or plant-based food options, we provide food people may otherwise forgo due to costly product pricing.

We rescue food from becoming food waste by saving less-than-perfect foods from restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, and more. This helps individuals choose foods they can use.

Our dual program includes a FoodSHARE for struggling families and a free option for low-income families to attain food. We are helping a community that is disproportionately affected by food insecurity — people with generally no way of getting aid to reach self-sufficiency.

Our organization thrives on building community and is fueled by volunteers working together toward a common goal: community-wide financial empowerment.

our story

In 2016, Porchlight Community Services began a journey that would later unfold into its mission to illuminate individuals’ self-sufficiency and empower people to achieve long-term financial security. Volunteers lead this concept with a common goal: eliminating food insecurity at the source.

Due to a local charity being shut down – a charity that helped feed the homeless – an overabundance of food threatened to spoil. A volunteer call-to-action within a central San Diego neighborhood was initiated to help distribute the goods and prevent the food from becoming waste.

Over several weeks, this on-the-fly food distribution continued. Events happened after sunlight hours, the walkways of cement and grass lined with boxes overflowing with food, lit only by the neighbor’s porch lights.

For the next two years, requests to drop off food on volunteer porches grew. People even reached out to offer donations so food could be purchased to give away.

During many of our events, the stories of families filled the nights. Porchlight’s founders listened to families share about working multiple jobs, juggling bills, and not qualifying for government assistance. Others shared about food banks not having allergy-friendly or plant-based options, not being able to take time off work to seek other distributions, and feeling they were taking from others less fortunate if they attended regular food bank distributions.

It was then that Porchlight founders realized that the immune-compromised individuals and families who do not qualify for public assistance and families most affected by food insecurity.

In 2019, it was decided that Porchlight Community Services would become the solution to a hard-working community struggling with food insecurity.

Its founders opted for a client-choice, supermarket-style food pantry. This service enables and empowers members to access food based on their dietary needs. It also allows clients to maintain their dignity while receiving personal support.

We started in 2016 with a little over 1,000 families participating. As of August 2020, we serve over 3,500 families across five different communities. We will continue to explore additional ways to serve our community. We are excited about what’s to come!

Hours of Operation

Volunteering :  Sunday ~ Saturday

9:30 am - 3:30 pm


Food Distribution Event :

(by appointment only)

Thursday 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Sunday/Saturday 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Our Address: 

8878 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Suite F,
San Diego, CA 92123

Questions or comments?

Email us at

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