The Food Bank supports more than 600 charitable partner agencies throughout the county. They are as diverse as the people we serve and are working to meet the most urgent needs in their local communities.
My Friends House, Inc., which receives approximately 16,000 pounds of food from the Food Bank every month, is a vital resource for the 300-350 people it feeds on a weekly basis. Carol, 61, is one of the community members who rely on the assistance and she remembers what it was like before she found them. “There were nights when I would go hungry, before I knew about the Food Bank,” Carol recalls. “When you look at your finances and you can’t make ends meet, you have anxiety about where you’re going to get food. It’s very depressing.”
Carol receives meat, vegetables, cereal, milk and other nutritious items, which she takes back to her family. She estimates that this saves her at least $200 every month, which helps her pay other bills.
“Coming to My Friends House helps me during the week when I run short on money for food,” Carol says. “They’re like an extended family with helping hands.”
None of the helping hands at My Friends House are paid—they all donate their time and energy to make a difference. Judith Starr is the Coordinator for volunteers, food retrieval and distribution. “We’re motivated to do the work because we know that we should,” Judith says. “The most fulfilling part is to know I helped somebody who needed it.”
Judith says their mission, which is to help provide healthy food in our Los Angeles Community, would not be possible without the Food Bank.
“The Food Bank helps us tremendously by providing commodity items, as well as frozen products and lots of produce,” Judith says. “Without the Food Bank, we couldn’t exist and it would be a loss to the community.”
In addition to the 4,000 pounds of food that My Friends House volunteers pick up from the Food Bank every week, they receive food through the Food Bank’s Extra Helpings Program. This Food Bank program focuses on logistic support, and allows agencies to gather donated food directly from donors.
“This means that we have relationships with Sprouts and with Aldi which provides even more food which we give to our community.” Judith says the program provides another 1,200 pounds every week.
Judith and her team work tirelessly not only to provide food but also to lift the spirits of everyone who comes through their line. “I hope the kindness we share gives people the ability to be nicer to someone else. Community is everything.”
It certainly made a difference for Carol. “Receiving help makes you want to give back,” she says. “When I come here I am receiving hope. I try to pass that along to the volunteers and the other people who come here.”
Judith knows that My Friends House’s role in the community is vital. “Many grocery stores are difficult to get to for members of the community, and the smaller mom and pop stores don’t always have healthy options,” she says. “There have been a number of pantries around us that have closed. We are glad to still be here and I think it would be a loss to the community if weren’t here.
“On the 21st of the month, people who are on a fixed income or SNAP really begin to worry about food,” Judith explains. “That’s when we want to fill in the gap the most because there are still 9 or 11 days left where folks have to determine how they’re going to feed themselves and their children.”
Supporters of the Food Bank give hope to families like Carol’s. “I would just say a big thank you for your love and your support. You just don’t know how you are impacting the community. There’s a big need to feed America and you’re doing an excellent job. I thank you from the bottom of your heart.”
Please consider supporting our shared work with a financial donation. $1 = up to 4 meals.