San Diego East County Resources

For downloadable PDF versions of food resources and general resources click on your community below

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information

Education and precautions are the strongest tools against infection. Get the latest facts by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 website. Continue to practice good health habits, refrain from handshakes or hugs as greetings, and wash hands and clean surfaces appropriate. We will strive to bring you a list and links to the most up-to-date information for resources and food pantries.  Things are changing daily so we appreciate your patience as we try to keep this site updated.

  • Text COSD COVID19 to 468-311 to get text alerts for COVID-19

  • County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Housing and Community Development (HCDS)–

  • COVID-19 Testing Sites–

    Health plans are required to cover COVID-19 tests at no cost to the enrollee. It is recommended that you first contact your healthcare provider for a COVID-19 test. If you are unable to get a test from your healthcare provider, the County of San Diego (County) has coordinated free diagnostic COVID-19 testing at many locations. These tests take about 5-10 minutes. Results generally come back in approximately 2-4 days. Click here for site locations.

  • COVID-19 Vaccines & Boosters–

    COVID-19 vaccination is an important tool to end the COVID-19 pandemic and reopen the economy. Vaccines are going to people in phases. See vaccine eligibility. You can get a vaccine at no cost to you.

  • State of California Coronavirus (COVID-19) WebsiteCalifornia launches a new, consumer-friendly website,, that highlights critical steps people can take to stay healthy and resources available to Californians impacted by the outbreak, including paid sick leave and unemployment assistance.

  •  Refugee Support, Podcasts and COVID-19 Updates– Available in most languages  Click Here  For information on Resettling to the United States during the COVID-19 Pandemic Fact SheetClick Here

  • COVID-19 Guidance for Immigrant Americans- Click HereAvailable in several languages.
  • What Everyone Can Do to Minimize the Chances of Getting COVID-19
    1. Wash your hands often to help protect you from germs.
    2. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if soap and water are not available. It should contain at least 60% alcohol.
    3. Avoid touching  your eyes, nose and mouth
    4. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
    5. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and maintain a 6′ social distance from people who are not family members.
    6. If you are sick, stay home and keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
    7. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then wash your hands.
    8. Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, by physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
  • Health care and helping relatives-  If you are feeling sick with fever or cough or other symptoms, please first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, an urgent care center or 2-1-1. If you need to go to the hospital, call ahead so that they can arrange for your arrival.  If you need 9-1-1, tell the 9-1-1 operator the exact symptoms you are experiencing so the emergency medical providers can prepare to treat you safely. You can care for elderly or disabled parents if you are not feeling sick. Be sure to protect them and yourself by  following the guidelines, get vaccinated and follow booster protocols. If you have early signs of a cold, please stay away from your older loved ones.

Access To Food In Your Neighborhood

Pantries are taking actions to limit the spread of the virus, including use of gloves, paper tickets, pre-packaged distributions, and social distancing at sites.  For a list of food pantries also visit the community FOOD RESOURCES pages on this website.

  • San Diego Hunger Coalition
  • Feeding San Diego at (858) 452-3663
  • Jacobs Cushman San Diego Food Bank at (858) 527-1419
  • Call 2-1-1 for various food pantry locations
  • San Diego County of Education- Known Countywide School Food Service Open During school closures for ages 2-18 years old at school sites  
  • Women, Infant & Children (WIC)- WIC agencies are currently operating remotely. The majority of appointments and assistance will be provided over the telephone. Please see the updated contact information and websites for all WIC operating agencies across San Diego County.
  • American Red Cross WIC    (800) 500-6411  
  • SDSU Research Foundation WIC    (888) 999-6897
  • North County Health Services WIC  (888) 477-6333
  • San Ysidro Health Center (888) 942-7942
  • Scripps WIC  (619) 260-3400
  • Clinica de Salud WIC   (877) 686-5468
  • CalFresh Application Assistance- You may qualify for maximum benefits for April and May. Call 2-1-1 or

County Assistance and Libraries

  • San Diego County Family Resource Centers, Housing and Community Development Service Offices– All offices are suspending in-person services until further notice.  Residents looking to apply for essential services, including food and housing assistance, medical coverage and other vital support programs, can apply for benefits online. They can also call 2-1-1 San Diego and a live representative can help with the application process by phone.  San Diegans who are already signed up for benefits, including CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal or General Relief benefits, can manage their case online. Existing customers can send required documents electronically via LaterDocsFor those who are not able to submit forms electronically, a limited number of staff members will be available outside the County’s 13 Family Resource Centers. In addition, the Housing and Community Development Office in Kearny Mesa has a mailbox where residents drop off hard copies of documents if needed.
  • San Diego County Libraries–Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm for in-person. Return books 24 hours drop boxes. Following all County guidelines.  Please click here for more information.
  • Health & Human Services Agency- General Relief–

    Provides temporary cash assistance for eligible county residents who have no other means of support. Any aid received must be repaid to the county. Completed hours of required Job Training may count toward repayment of the debt. For more information call 1-866-262-9881.  Click here for updated information during COVID-19. 

Homeless Services and Shelter

  • Crisis House– 9550 Cuyamaca St., Suite 101, Santee  (619) 444-1194 Open Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm  No in-person meetings. Call for an appointment or for more information on housing assistance and domestic violence shelter assistance. Homeless outreach available in the field. Rental assistance limited for unincorporated communities in East County.
  • Home Start, Inc.– 333 E. Main St., El Cajon (619) 535-9356 Call for an appointment. Services include emergency rental or mortgage assistance, Rapid Re-Housing programs, TAY housing for transitional age youth, host homes and other unsheltered services. Programs for pregnant or young mothers who are homeless.  Rental assistance programs available.
  • San Diego County Rental AssistanceClick Here to apply online or call 2-1-1 for assistance.
  • 2-1-1–  Call for shelter openings throughout San Diego County.

Mental Health Resources

Resources for Kids- Diapers, How to talk to kids about Coronavirus and Learning Resources

  • Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus-
  • Learning Resources for Kids Home from School-
  • Bedtime Stories Streaming Series Every Sunday at 8:00pm hear a princess read a bedtime story.  To gain access (did we mention it’s FREE?!), simply request to join our group-  The Storybook Character Company VIP Group- Specials, events, and more!, and tune in on Sundays.
  • PBS Programming and Online Content to Keep Americans Informed and Support Families and Educators- Click here for resources
  • Simple Activities for Children and Adolescents–Offers activity ideas to parents and caregivers whose families are sheltering in place, social distancing, and homeschooling due to school closures amidst the COVID-19 outbreak–Click here for pdf. version
  • San Diego Food Bank Diaper Program–Click here for English pdf. version of locations of diaper banks.  Click here for Spanish .pdf version.
  • First Responder and Healthcare Provider Daycare–Santee School District is opening child care with Project SAFE and YALE during Spring Break.  Following orders of the San Diego Public Health Dept. all proper staffing and other preventative practices will be maintained.  Cajon Valley Union School District also has childcare available for essential workers by calling (619) 588-3000.
  • Computer Access and Internet Service- For low-cost refurbished computers contact San Diego Futures Foundation at (619) 269-1684 or click here.  For additional providers and computers call 2-1-1 or click here.

Senior Services and Information

  • SD County Aging & Independence Services— Hotline (800) 339-4661 for assistance.  For frequently asked questions, Click here for pdf. version.
  • Live Well San Diego–Older Californians now have a one-stop shop to answer their non-emergency COVID-19 related questions. Call for assistance, like access to groceries and medication delivery. Call (833) 544-2374
  • Meals on Wheels–Senior Meal Delivery– (619) 447-8782
  • Senior Meals for Pick Up & Delivery–
    Salvation Army-
    1011 Main St., El Cajon  (619) 440-4683 10:00am-12:30pm  Meal delivery for clients only. Call to sign up.
    Mountain Health Community Center–976 Sheridan Way, Campo  (619) 478-2384  Same schedule of congregate meals sites with frozen meals and sides to go.  Meal deliveries continue.  Serving Alpine, Descanso, Campo, Pine Valley, Dulzura, Potrero, Boulevard. Emergency pantry available.
    Jewish Family Services–(858) 637-3000 Call for meal delivery in El Cajon
    Serving Seniors–(619) 337-1425  Serving El Cajon, La Mesa, Spring Valley (site closed) and Lemon Grove meal deliveries.
  • Additional senior meal programs can be found by Clicking here for pdf. version
  • Protecting Seniors–Scams using the virus have been highlighted by the Federal Trade Commission:  If you learn of any suspected Price Gouging within San Diego County, please report this activity to the San Diego District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit Hotline at 619-531-3507.

Financial, Labor & Workforce Assistance

  • California Labor & Workforce Development
    Information about paid sick leave, family leave, disability and unemployment insurance.
  • Small Business Administration–
    Guidance and loan resources for small businesses.
  • San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund– Simple and immediate financial assistance for utilities, rent or food and no-interest loans for nonprofits- Call 2-1-1 to apply or apply at United Way at
  • Coronavirus Law and Policy Information-
  • Rent Hardship- Tenants should send a hardship letter/email to their landlords as soon as possible. They also need to provide/collect documentation related to hardship (COVID-19).  If tenants do not notify their landlords, they may lose the protections under the “eviction moratorium.”  This template is based on the strict requirements based on the local moratoriums. For a sample Inability to Pay letter to landlord, click here.  Letters must be sent within 7 days of rent due.
    See above for Housing and Shelter for information on Rental, Mortgage and Utility assistance programs.
  • CSA San Diego- Landlord disputes, rental and housing assistance- 327 Van Houten, El Cajon or call (800) 954-0441.  Open Monday-Friday until 4:30 p.m. 
  • SDG&E Initiatives to help business customers during COVID-19 
    SDG&E recognizes the tremendous economic and human impact the coronavirus has had on our business community and we want all customers to know that SDG&E is here to help them through this crisis and support their energy needs.
    If you or anyone you know is struggling to pay their energy bill, please contact SDG&E to learn about assistance programs or to set up flexible payment arrangements at 1.800.411.7343.
    Many businesses are also trying to take care of their employees at this difficult time. SDG&E has bill discount programs to support customers year-round. Many people who previously did not qualify for these income-based programs may now be able to do so due to lost wages. Those who recently lost their job, even if they are receiving unemployment benefits, may be eligible for CARE and or FERA which can save customers up to 30% or more on their monthly energy bill. If you have a qualifying medical condition, customers may qualify for a bill discount with the Medical Baseline program. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is federally funded and helps low-income households with their energy bills. For more information on LIHEAP visit
    Find out more about SDG&E’s bill discount programs at
  • Helix Water District- Helix Helps Customer Assistance Program, which will start on April 5 and offer a one-time credit of up to $300 for Helix single-family residential customers who are behind on their water bills and can document that they have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Customers can also visit or call customer service at (619) 466-0585 for program updates.  
  • EDCO Disposal- EDCO offers a special discount for financially challenged seniors. If you are head-of-household and over the age of 65 with a combined annual income less than $32,000, EDCO offers at 20% discount to qualified customers. Email application information to

More General Information

Photo : Rebecca’s children back with their mom; photo courtesy of “Rebecca”

If you are a non-profit and have a story of hope please submit to the email below.

Finding Hope

    Believing she was “too difficult” to live with her father, Rebecca at age 16 ran away to live with her mother, whom she discovered was drug addicted. After fleeing one bad situation, Rebecca found herself living in more unstable environments, often sleeping on couches. Like her mother, Rebecca began to abuse drugs. Now herself a mother of two children, on drugs and evicted from her apartment, child welfare took Rebecca’s children.
    Rebecca unsuccessfully attempted multiple rehab and sober living programs, but her addiction kept her from being reunited with her children.
    She learned of Home Start, a San Diego agency with services that protect children and strengthen families. At age 19, Rebecca began her recovery process when she entered Home Start’s Maternity Housing Program that gave her stable housing and intensive case management services. She established and achieved goals, and received parental coaching and personal therapy. Her therapy helped her deal with feelings of guilt and shame. After six months of successful recovery, Rebecca’s children were living back with their mom.
    Today Rebecca is clean and sober, gainfully employed, and successfully raising her children. Eighteen months of transitional housing with wrap-around services through Home Start provided her with stability she’d never known. Because of people who supported her and assisted her, Rebecca is self-sufficient and thriving. Best of all, her children also are thriving with their mom.

Who Are We?

We are a community-based volunteer organization program of the San Diego East County Chamber Foundation. We promote collaboration between public, private and non-profit sectors to discover and action solutions for homelessness in East County.
Mission: “To develop solutions to reduce homelessness by working collaboratively with all sectors of our communities”
Vision: “We will improve our communities by effectively dealing with homeless issues”

How Does This Site Work?

This website was created to assist you with accessing resources that are available in your community.

On the far left navigation bar, you can find specific pages detailing resources and how to get into contact with assistance services. You may also download PDF versions of all resources available by clicking on the buttons above.

For updates and changes, please email

Contact Us:

Disclaimer: El Cajon Collaborative maintains the East County Assist website as a service to families as a reference tool. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information, we make no guarantee. The inclusion of an organization or service does not imply an endorsement of the organization or service, nor does exclusion imply disapproval. El Cajon Collaborative has provided external links to other websites, however some of these links may refer to information that no longer exists or has been moved to another site. El Cajon Collaborative is not responsible for the content, privacy practices, or security practices of these sites.
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