L.A. County continues its mission to fight hunger, hosts 100th drive-up food-distribution event
Underscoring its commitment to support the region’s most vulnerable communities, Los Angeles County today will host its 100th free drive-up food distribution event since the COVID-19 pandemic started at Good Samaritan Hospital in the Westlake area.
The giveaway, organized in partnership with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, will also mark the 10 millionth pound of food provided to residents via drive-through events since last March under the #LetsFeedLACounty banner.
Hundreds of residents will have free 50-lb. boxes of food placed into their vehicles by disaster service workers from the County’s Library and Parks and Recreation departments. Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis will be on hand to help load food boxes and thank County employees for their work to feed L.A.’s hungry this past year.
An estimated one in four County residents has suffered at least one instance of food insecurity since the pandemic started, according to a recent USC study.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic one year ago, the County of Los Angeles has helped families put food on the table through free drive-up meal distributions,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District. “As we mark our 100th distribution, I reflect on the many residents from throughout the County I have had the pleasure of meeting – from older adults to single mothers, it has certainly been under trying circumstances. A combination of federal relief, community partnerships and a commitment to serving our most vulnerable has led to this milestone that serves as a reminder of how many families are still suffering from sustained food insecurity. With the passage of the latest federal relief bill, I am committed alongside our partners at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to serving our communities with the resources they need because no one should go to bed hungry.”
“It has now been over a year since we added the large drive-thru COVID-19 Relief Food Distributions to our list of Food Bank programs,” said Michael Flood, President and CEO of the L.A. Regional Food Bank. “We have been able to respond successfully thanks to our amazing partners, including the incredible support from Los Angeles County, which provided funding and logistic support that has benefited millions of our neighbors.”
While contents of emergency food kits vary from week to week, a typical box contains enough items to sustain a family of four for a week. The kit usually contains an assortment of fresh produce, protein, grains and beans.
The boxes also contain enrollment information about other food relief services available through the County: CalFresh monthly grocery benefits; Woman, Infant and Children nutritional support (WIC); and Older Adult Meal Programs through the Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services unit (WDACS).
“These drive-through events have been a lifeline for people in need,” said Gary Gero, the Food Branch Director for Los Angeles County’s Emergency Operations Center. “But eligible residents should enroll in WIC and CalFresh programs, as they provide ongoing support throughout the year.”
Among other food-relief milestones being met this month at the one-year mark of the pandemic in L.A. County:
- 4.5 million meals delivered to seniors in need, with local restaurants providing nutritious food to homebound residents
- 1 million meals provided to people experiencing homelessness through the Department of Health Services’ Housing for Health initiative, which conducts on-the-street deliveries and outreach
- $20 million in funding distributed to 46 community-based organizations countywide that provide direct food support to marginalized communities
Residents who are grappling with food insecurity can also call the County’s 2-1-1 help line to find resources near them. Counselors provide information in several languages.
B-roll available here (credit LA County): https://vimeo.com/498455775
Photos available here (credit LA County): https://www.flickr.com/photos/160323049@N03/sets/72157714013138431/
About Food Insecurity in Los Angeles County
The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmingly affected women, people with low incomes and the unemployed. Higher income groups that do not typically struggle to afford food have also been affected. People who have experienced food insecurity during the pandemic have the following characteristics, according to the USC study:
- Low-income, which includes un- and under-employed (82%)
- Between 18 to 40 years old (59%)
- Female (57%)
- Children in the household (50%)
- Single parent household (36%)
- Unemployed (36%)
- COVID-infected (12%)
The study also found that 40% of all Latino households, 39% of Black/African American households, 28% of Asian households and 21% of White (non-Hispanic) households in L.A. County experienced at least one instance of food insecurity during the given dates. For more detail about the study, contact Kayla de la Haye (firstname.lastname@example.org) with USC’s Public Exchange – a program of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.