Food insecurity impacts Los Angeles County differently than most people realize. In 2018, 18 percent of the food distributed by the Food Bank and its Partner Agency Network went to older adults who struggle with hunger.
In California, one out of five residents over 65 years of age currently struggles with food insecurity and Los Angeles has been especially hard hit. The city is home to the largest estimated population of food insecure seniors in the country.
Too often, we hear stories about older adults who have to make tough choices when it comes to spending. After paying rent, utilities and medical bills there isn’t a lot of money left over for food, let alone fresh, nutritious food.
Carol, visits one of the Los Angeles Regional Food Banks partner agencies, My Friends House, Inc. in Los Angeles, on a weekly basis to pick up much-needed groceries. She receives meat, vegetables, cereal, milk and other nutritious items, which she takes back to her family. “Coming to My Friends House helps me during the week when I run short on money for food,” Carol says. “I know I can come here and get something to provide a meal for my family.”
Carol estimates that she is able to save at least $50 every week by receiving groceries from My Friends House and says it helps her pay other bills. “When I pay my gas and water bill, I have hardly any money left.”
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 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.”
Supporters of the Food Bank give hope to families like Carol’s. She cares for two parents with dementia and also supports her nephew, a single father, who is currently unemployed and looking for work. “A lot of people are too proud to come to a food bank,” she says. “But you forget your pride when you’re hungry.”
“I would just say a big thank you for your love and your support,” Carol says. “You just don’t know how you’re 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.”