Santee Food Bank Manager Named District 4 Person of the Year

SANTEE, CA – Marty Smothermon has been helping those in need for over 20 years as a dedicated volunteer at the Santee Food Bank.

His countless volunteer hours have not gone unnoticed. She was named Santee District 4 Person of the Year for her work with the nonprofit.

District 4 Councilor Dustin Trotter surprised Smothermon, 80, with the prize during last week’s produce distribution at the Santee Food Bank, during which the organization provided food to 238 households . She was also recognized at Wednesday’s District 4 town hall meeting.

“It’s humiliating,” Smothermon told Patch. “It’s an honor, and I’m really grateful for that.”

Smothermon is currently Site Manager and Vice Chairman of the Board of Santee Food Bank.

She began volunteering with the organization after retiring from a career as a cost analyst. She learned that her church needed volunteers.

“I needed something to do. I needed to have something to do, a sense of purpose,” Smothermon recalled. “That’s what the food bank gave me – a sense of purpose.”

Smothermon said volunteer work was “a good fit right now.” She started by distributing bread and quickly took on more responsibilities.

She ran the Santee Food Bank for years as site manager for day-to-day operations. She has also served as treasurer, president, and now vice-president of the non-profit organization’s board of directors.

“I like to get things done,” Smothermon said. “I am a doer.”

The Santee Food Bank has been part of the community since 1983, providing food assistance to residents in need. In its early years, the nonprofit was located on the Edgemoor property on Magnolia Avenue and served about 15 households each time it opened for food distribution, Smothermon said.

Over the years, the Santee Food Bank was located near the old Newbreak Church campus on Cottonwood Avenue, then in a small industrial space on Hartley Road.

The nonprofit is now at 9715 Halberns Blvd. on the property of the Carlton Hills Lutheran Church.

The Santee Food Bank offers food distribution from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and food distribution from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.

Under Smothermon’s leadership and with a core of 20 volunteers, the Santee Food Bank has grown to serve 400 to 450 families each month.

“And we are diversifying too!” Smothermon said.

In the summer of 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit became a “Super Pantry” under the San Diego Food Bank’s Super Pantry program of food distribution centers in high volume in San Diego County communities.

The designation has allowed the Santee Food Bank to reach more people and serve anyone in need of food assistance, not just Santee residents. In 2021, the organization provided food for more than 25,000 people, Smothermon said.

Smothermon volunteers at least 30 hours a week and is on site about three times a week.

She has helped coordinate the nonprofit’s moves over the years. She served as the primary liaison with local organizations including Feeding San Diego, San Diego Food Bank, City of Santee, and San Diego County. She has helped write grants, answered emails, signed spreadsheets, and done more to keep the all-volunteer-run organization running smoothly.

“It’s something very close to my heart because there are so many people in need,” Smothermon said.

This article originally appeared on the Santee patch

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