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.

  • *****3/19/2020 07:25 PM PDT*****
    Governor Newsom Issues Stay-At-Home Order For All Californians.  
    The California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health is ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to follow the federal critical infrastructure sectors. It is a mandatory legal Order issued pursuant to the legal authority of the Governor and the State Public Health Officer.  This goes into effect on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The order is in place until further notice. All persons, businesses, and other entities are required to comply with the Order.  For more information, visit
    *****3/31/2020 07:12PM PDT*****
    California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, issued a recommendation that students do not return to school campuses before the end of the 2019-20 school year.  We are suggesting that learning still occurs until the end of the school year, and schools plan and prepare to have their curriculum carried out through a distance learning model.
    *****4/3/2020 01:00PM PDT*****
    By order of the County Public Health Officer you should wear a cloth face covering when you must be in public for essential activities such as grocery shopping or picking up food at a restaurant. Wearing a cloth face covering does not eliminate the need to physically distance yourself from others.  All essential workers must have face coverings who are interacting with the public. These include grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and restaurants. You should wash your face mask frequently, ideally after each use or at least daily.
    *****4/8/2020 4:52PM PDT*****

    The County Wednesday expanded its Health Order to prohibit gatherings of any type, effective Thursday.  The new directive means that gatherings of 10 people or less are no longer allowed in San Diego County, unless they live in same household. The revised order also expands the requirement for employees of certain businesses to wear face coverings to banks, public transportation and child care providers that serve food.
    *****4/14/2020 03:00PM PDT*****
    El Cajon City Council 
    presented some of the likely impacts to the community following the pandemic. The City is concerned that many businesses will struggle while closed. In addition, many residents are either experiencing unemployment or underemployment.

    The City Council approved 12 programs to help the community including:
    1. Providing residents assistance with utility bills including 2. Providing residents assistance with utility bills, 3. Providing residents assistance with rent, 4. Delaying sewer bills through June, 5. Assisting seniors to access groceries, 6. Promoting and financially suppporting existing food distribution throughout the community, 7. Setting up a business resource website and reaching out to businesses, 8. Waiving late business license renewal penalities, 9. No longer enforcing banner and temporary use regulations out to businesses, 10. Providing additional homeless shelter opportunities, 11. Providing transportation to the homeless to access regional resources, and 12. Providing free on-line recreation classes.
    Additionally, the City Council adopted a resolution strongly recommending that owners of rental properties in the City refrain from raising rent for a 60-day period beginning April 15th. Tenants are also encouraged to proactively communicate with landlords about financial hardships during this time. For additional information about these programs and other resources, visit the City’s COVID-19 webpage at
    City of Santee Community Updates- Click here for Public Notice Page of COVID-19 Resources and Updates
    San Diego Public Health Order Regarding Businesses, Beaches, Parks and Trails starting April 27- Click here
    Starting May 1, everyone must wear face coverings anywhere in public they come within 6 feet of another person.
    While some businesses have been allowed to reopen and recreational activities are occurring with some restrictions, there is one rule that remains in place: gatherings are still prohibited. COVID-19 testing is available through your medical provider, at local hospitals, some community clinics and private labs. If you don’t have a medical provider, call 2-1-1 and they’ll connect you to one.
    San Diego County is adding free COVID-19 testing in rural communities in the County.  See list of sites by clicking here.
    A state-run walk-up test site is now open in El Cajon at the former San Diego County Assessor Office at 220 S. Magnolia Ave.  Call 2-1-1 to make an appointment. Restaurants and stores can now open to serve customers in person. They must follow specific guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
         Guidelines for dine-in restaurants are: 1) Temperature/symptom screening for employees daily, 2) Employees with 
     symptoms are not allowed to work, 3) All tables need to be six feet apart or have barriers separating them, 4) Signs need to be posted reminding customers to social distance, 4) Employees must wear facial coverings, 5) Customers must wear facial coverings except when seated, 6) No self-service such as buffets, salad bars, soda machines, etc., 7) Encourage reservations, 8) Expand outdoor seating.  Before reopening, food businesses must fill and post the County Restaurant Operating Protocol. Additional guidance, posters and information for a safe reopening can be found on the website page for restaurant operators.
         Guidelines for stores, including malls, with the following requirements are: 1) Post signs saying no employees or customers with COVID-19 symptoms should enter, 2) Temperature/symptom screening for employees daily, 3) Employees and customers must wear facial coverings, 4) Limit number of customers to maintain six feet of distance.  Businesses that have not done so already need to complete a Safe Reopening Plan, post it at their entrance and discuss with their employees. Retail businesses that have been providing curbside or front-door pick-up and will now be allowing customers indoors must update their plan. 
         The State has yet to allow San Diegans to open: 1) Hotels, Airbnb, 2) Gyms, fitness centers, 3) Hair, nail salons, 4) Beach parking lots, 5) Sitting or lying down on the beach, 6) Religious services, except funerals performed with social distancing.

  • 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)–
  • Public Health Order San Diego County- April 10, 2020  For a copy click here
  • 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- In most situations, visiting someone in a hospital or long-term care facility is no longer allowed. Exceptions may be made for family or friends to visit a patient in an end-of-life situation or to allow parents or guardians to visit a child who is a patient, for example. Non-essential medical care (eye exams, teeth cleaning, elective procedures) should be cancelled or rescheduled.  Check with your healthcare provider by calling or email to see what telemedicine services they offer or their recommendation.  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 hosptial, 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. 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)- Beginning Wednesday, 3/18/2020, all San Diego WIC agencies will operate virturally. 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 WIC   (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
  • Shopping for elders or shut-ins– Call Milano Sliwa, Border Angels San Diego State University
    (619) 493-9315
  • Free Food East County–Facebook group with free food donations in La Mesa and El Cajon. Click on the page and ask to be invited to join page for updates on when food will be distributed and the location. Food is drive by and loaded into your trunk. You can also call Feeding the Flock at (619) 442-1789.  Comment on Facebook page for address.

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- County library branches are going to curb-side pickup to help county residents practice social-distancing to stop the spread of coronavirus and still enjoy all the library books, digital magazines, music, movies and other fare they love.  As of May 22nd, you may now make an appointment at your local library to pick up books and materials, All summer programs will be virtual this summer.  Watch for more information.
  • Health & Human Services Agency- General Relief–March 23, 2020 Due to the ongoing public health crisis, the General Relief Program will be extended until June 30, 2020 and cases are not to discontinue.  Call The San Diego Family Resource Center above for more information.

Homeless Services and Shelter

  • Crisis House– 1034 N. Magnolia Ave., El Cajon  (619) 444-1194 Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 11:00am-3:00pm  Hygeine packs, warm meals and emergency food
  • Home Start, Inc.– 333 E. Main St., El Cajon (619) 535-9356 Open by appointment at this time.  Call for information on assistance available.
  • 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.  Free Internet service available for persons who qualify can access free service for two months with Cox Cable by clicking here.  Must apply by May 15th for this service.  For additional providers and computers by calling 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.
    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
  • Additional senior meal programs can be found by Clicking here for pdf. version
  • Special Senior (over age 60) Shopping Hours- Also disabled and pregnant women
    1. Costco- Every Tuesday & Thursday   8:00-9:00 a.m.
    2. Smart & Final- Everyday from 7:30-8:00 a.m.
    3. Stater Brothers- 7:45 a.m. each morning
    4. Target- Wednesdays during the first hour
    5. Trader Joe’s- Daily from 9:00-10:00 a.m.
    6. Von’s and Albertsons- Mondays and Thursdays before 9:00 a.m.
    7. Walgreen- Tuesdays from 8:00-9:00 a.m.
    8. Walmart- Mondays & Thursdays before 9:00 a.m.
  • Protecting Seniors–Scams using the virus have been highlighted this week 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.
  • IRS and Tax Extensions–
    Individuals: Income tax payment deadlines for individual returns, with a due date of April 15, 2020, are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $1 million of their 2019 tax due. This payment relief applies to all individual returns, including self-employed individuals, and all entities other than C-Corporations, such as trusts or estates. IRS will automatically provide this relief to taxpayers. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this relief.  All tax assistance centers are closed until further notice.
  • 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.
  • 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. In recent weeks, they’ve taken several actions to support our region’s businesses.
    1.  SDG&E is temporarily waiving late payment fees for business customers whose finances have been affected by the coronavirus.
    2.  Recognizing the economic devastation caused by the pandemic, SDG&E has suspended service disconnections due to non-payment. This disconnection freeze will remain in place until further notice.
    3.  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- New Updates: A)
    Helix Water District- New updates from the Board of Directors: A) The board voted to freeze water rates through the end of 2020, and suspend late fees and water shutoffs related to nonpayment, B) Assure customers that their tap water is safe to drink, water service will continue, and customer service is available, C) Customer service remains available at (619) 466-0585, Monday-Friday during regular business hours, D) Our Ultimate Guide to Paying Your Water Bill Online shows customers how to pay their water bills during the governor’s stay-at-home order, with step-by-step instructions and videos.

Census 2020 Information

In light of COVID-19 concerns, it is important to highlight that every Californian can respond to the Census online at or by phone calling the numbers available below or by mail if they received a paper form.  English–844-330-2020, Spanish–844-468-2020, Mandarin Chinese–844-391-2020, Cantonese Chinese–844-398-2020, Vietnamese–844-461-2020, Korean–844-392-2020, Russian–844-417-2020, Arabic–844-416-2020, Tagalog–844-478-2020, Polish–844-479-2020, French–844-494-2020, Haitian Creole–844-477-2020, Portuguese–844-474-2020, Japanese–844-460-2020, Telephone Display Device (TDD)–844-467-2020.  All lines provide live customer support and assistance. Support on all language lines ends July 31, 2020.

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?

The East Co. Homeless Task Force brought together over 300 volunteers to look at challenges within their East County communities and to find solutions to address those challenges.

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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