Distribution of Product and Food Bank Programs
The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank’s mission is to mobilize resources to fight hunger in our community. We serve Los Angeles County – a 4,000-square-mile area with the largest population of any county in the nation. The Food Bank distributes food through a network of partner agencies including food pantries, soup kitchens and other community-based organizations. In addition, we run programs for children and seniors, conduct outreach and education programs and advocate for public policies that improve access to nutritious food and reduce hunger. Our vision is for no one to go hungry in our community.
Partner Agency Network
The Food Bank serves 690 agencies, which in turn serve people seeking food assistance in their community. Many agencies operate more than one location and there are more than 1,000 distribution sites throughout Los Angeles County. The majority of agencies are food pantries that distribute groceries to families and individuals. More than half of agencies served provide other services to clients in addition to food assistance.
Fresh Produce Programs
Ten years ago, the Food Bank set a goal to increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables acquired and distributed and, in 2014, we distributed 11 million pounds of fresh produce to our agency network and through Food Bank programs. Acquiring, handling and distributing fresh produce adds complexity to our work, and we have developed a number of programs including Agency Drive Thru and Rapid Food Distribution, in order to distribute fresh produce quickly.
Mobile Food Pantry
Launched in 2012, the Mobile Food Pantry has become an important resource for the community. The Mobile Food Pantry serves low-income families in underserved areas throughout Los Angeles County. We have 17 Mobile Food Pantry distributions that serve a monthly average of 13,500 unduplicated clients. Food on the refrigerated truck is a combination of produce and perishable goods sourced from the USDA and donated foods.
The Extra Helpings program routes perishable and other donated food from grocery stores and other local sources directly to Food Bank partner agencies. Through this program, more than 7 million pounds of food was picked up by agencies and distributed to people in need in 2014.
Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP)
This program provides agencies with food from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Food pantries provide bags of food to families who qualify based on USDA income guidelines and soup kitchens provide hot meals.
Children's Nutrition Programs
Children learn better when they receive proper nutrition. At 42 sites, 2,600 children receive healthy meals after school. During summer months, the Food Bank expands the program to provide nutritious lunches to more than 6,000 children at more than 100 sites.
Our BackPack program ensures children do not go hungry on the days they are not in school. Every Friday during the school year, children receive a bag of fresh produce and enough food for six meals. The Food Bank also operates school-based distributions of fresh produce and other foods.
Senior Nutrition Programs
The number of hungry seniors is continually increasing. Faced with the need to choose between paying for rent, medicine or food, seniors often skip meals. Our programs provide monthly food kits through the USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program to more than 23,000 seniors. An additional 1,000 low-income seniors receive weekly bags of produce and groceries through our Brown Bag program.
The Food Bank’s CalFresh Outreach Team helps individuals and families determine their eligibility, and assists them with the CalFresh application process. The Outreach team travels to Food Bank agency sites and other locations to identify people eligible for this program.
The Food Bank educates children, their families and seniors who participate in our programs about the importance of healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices. We also utilize a food grading system that helps direct our efforts toward the most nutritious foods available.