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Disaster Relief

The LA Regional Food Bank's Role in Natural Disasters

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Food Assistance after Fires, Earthquakes and other Disasters

The devastating impact of recent fires, earthquakes, and other natural disasters cannot be overstated, and our hearts go out to the people and communities that have been affected. As a member of the Emergency Network of Los Angeles (ENLA), the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank provides vital food resources year-round for people who are fighting hunger, but would also serve as a first responder in the case of a natural disaster.

When natural disasters strike, our Food Bank primarily responds through two networks:

  • The National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD)
  • Feeding America, the national network of food banks.

Many people have never heard of the VOAD network which plays a critical role in disaster relief both nationally and locally. The American Red Cross and other large community-based and faith-based organizations are members of the National VOAD and local VOADs.

While National VOAD encompasses all disaster relief needs, Feeding America and their network of food banks focus primarily on shelf-stable food items, personal hygiene items, diapers, cleaning products and other similar items requested for relief efforts. The Food Bank often sends items that have been offered to us by local donors for disaster relief. Through National VOAD and Feeding America, there are also requests to send experienced staff to the region to help with disaster relief, and we have Food Bank staff who have volunteered to be deployed if they are needed.

We also have a Disaster Relief Fund to handle financial contributions, although we would recommend that donors view the list of agencies at www.nvoad.org and the list of food banks and state associations at www.feedingamerica.org to have a more immediate impact on disaster relief.

Our local VOAD is called Emergency Network of Los Angeles, and the Food Bank plays a leadership role in working with the coalition of nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and government agencies that comprise ENLA’s membership. Natural disasters remind us of the importance of being prepared locally. The Food Bank has hosted and attended ENLA membership training and will continue to be a leader in disaster preparation.

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