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People in Your La Jolla Neighborhood: Meet ‘Feed the Fight SD’ founder Kathryn Muñoz

Kathryn Muñoz (second from left) delivers meals to the Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health.
(Courtesy)

PEOPLE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD: This La Jolla Light series shines a spotlight on notable locals we all wish we knew more about! If you know someone you’d like us to profile, send the lead via e-mail to editor@lajollalight.com

La Jolla native Kathryn Muñoz has had her hands in a lot of service organizations: the women’s philanthropy group Las Patronas, and the mother-daughter philanthropy group National Charity League, to name a few.

She is continuing her community service in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting La Jolla restaurants and frontline workers through a program called Feed the Fight SD, through which she raises funds to purchase meals from local eateries and deliver them to local medical facilities.

What brought you to La Jolla?

“I was born and raised in La Jolla, and I attended La Jolla schools starting with Scripps Elementary (now The Children’s School), then Muirlands Middle School and finally La Jolla High. My family still lives here. My husband, Mark, and I moved back to La Jolla from San Francisco right before our (now) 20-year-old daughter was born. When our younger child graduated from La Jolla High in 2017, it coincided with my last year with Las Patronas, and my commitment with my daughter to National Charity League. My scheduled opened up, so I pursued my passion for skincare and became a licensed aesthetician. I opened Tulabelle Balanced Beauty, where I have been working the last four years.”

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected you personally?

“I’m thankful my family remains healthy (knock on wood). Nonetheless, like most people, I was horrified and deeply concerned as the pandemic moved from China to Europe and then on to the United States and other parts of the world. The new “stay at home” and “social distancing” way of life seems like an out-of-body experience. I remember hearing about the chaos taking place in Italian and Spanish hospitals and the unthinkable situations the doctors found themselves in. I was really impacted and saddened. The speed and ruthlessness of the virus made me realize we are all in this battle together.”

What made you want to help?

“Short of staying home, washing our hands and maintaining social distancing, I thought there was little any one of us could do. However, at the end of March, I saw a story on the news about a woman who started the first Feed the Fight program in Washington, DC. That gave me the inspiration to start a similar effort in our community.”

How did you decide upon Feed the Fight SD as the way you wanted to help?

“I just had the same mission as the first Feed the Fight program, which is to help both our frontline workers and restaurants keep their doors open. I felt it was a powerful and impactful initiative that I could ramp up quickly by leveraging my personal connections to raise funds and coordinate with restaurant owners. I thought I could make a difference quickly.”

How does Feed the Fight work?

“The purpose of Feed the Fight SD is twofold: To show love and support to medical workers on the frontlines, and to support our local restaurants by purchasing meals from them to deliver to hospitals. Though there is little we can do to stop the pandemic, this we can do! Since the beginning of April, nearly a dozen other cities have started their own Feed the Fight programs. Although we are not affiliated, we support each other.”

How has the response been in La Jolla and across San Diego?

“From a humble beginning at the start of April, we have received the support of more than 100 people who have graciously donated more than $13,000. By the end of this week (April 17), we will have delivered over 300 meals to three local hospitals. We plan on delivering another 500 meals in the coming weeks. But demand is rising. Therefore, I am trying to continue to raise awareness through different means — social media, personal outreach and traditional media.”

How can the public help?

“Because experts have predicted the worst of the virus to impact us in April, the bulk of our support is now. However, we plan on continuing fundraising and delivering meals as long as the demand is there.” People can support Feed the Fight SD by going to the gofundme.com page here or on Facebook under my profile (Kathryn Allan-Muñoz) or bit.ly/feedthefightsd

What are you most looking forward to when the shelter-in-place order is lifted?

“That’s easy! Reconnecting with friends in person, going to restaurants and attending yoga class at the actual yoga studio.”

What is your favorite 20-second song to sing while you wash your hands?

“My family encourages me not to sing, so I just let my mind wander on the next thing I need to accomplish, and I’m done!”