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9-Year-Old Takao Donates to LA Regional Food Bank

9-Year-Old Takao Donates to LA Regional Food Bank

Caring for the Community

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank talks to 9-year-old Takao and his father, Koji, about why it is important to support your community. 

Food insecurity is a growing problem for our country, especially here in LA County. The pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our lives, and unfortunately, the impact on the economy remains devastating. Food insecurity means that an individual or household cannot access enough nutritious food to meet all their needs.

Before the pandemic, 13.7 million households were food insecure at some time during 2019, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the nation’s most populous county, Los Angeles County is home to about 10 million people. Two million of these people are food-insecure seniors, families, children and individuals.

Amid the pandemic, 1 in 4 people in Los Angeles County may not know where their next meal is coming from, and LA County has more food-insecure children than any other county in the USA. With the pandemic raging and impacting schools, many families who previously relied on school meals rely on grab-and-go meals and the Food Bank’s supplemental food boxes provided at these sites on a rotating basis. 

One 9-year-old who is fortunate to be food-secure uses his resources to help others in his community like those that struggle with having access to food. We recently talked to Takao and his dad in a virtual interview to discuss the importance of caring for one another and why we should help each other when we can and how we can. 

Takao’s Clean Up

Takao, a third-grade student in South Pasadena, was watching a program with his mother. The program showed a man experiencing homelessness who was living with his two dogs. The man was struggling to seek medical attention for his pet, which may have been sick. A stranger who learned of the situation offered to pay the veterinary bills. Touched by the random act of kindness, Takao asked his mom what he could do at that point to help others. That’s when he knew what he wanted for Christmas this past year.

With his letter, Santa left money for Takao and encouraged him to research an organization that helps the community, and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is humbled to be Takao’s choice organization. 

“It’s important to help other people because we’re all human beings – we’re not aliens to each other,” said Takao. He reminded us that we are all in this together – “humans, dogs, cats, lions, bears, and fish.” 

Takao’s sharing is yearlong. For a school project, he came up with “Takao’s Clean Up.” He picks up trash in 5 or 10-minute increments with his dad, Koji, for money, and the proceeds benefit charity. He and his dad pick up trash every Sunday, which has been an ongoing effort for the past year. His dad shares that the challenge for someone Takao’s age is it is hard to come by volunteer opportunities to do the work. Takao’s parents committed to instilling the importance of putting in work into the community, and this posed a great option. 

Takao says that it feels good to be able to help. “It feels like you’re doing something to be part of the community.” People like Takao make #WeFeedLA possible all year. 

Join Takao in the Fight Against Hunger Today!

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and our network of 700 Partners Agencies throughout Los Angeles County have witnessed seemingly endless lines of cars and people at the drive-thru and walk-up food distributions across the County.

After the outbreak, the Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry Program shifted to a drive-thru format, and many of our Partner Agencies have adopted the format as well. This distribution method allows recipients to say safe in their car while volunteers and staff place food relief into trunks. Between March of 2020 and February of 2021, 240+ drive-thru food distributions have provided nutritious food to those in need. 

Contributions from those like Takao’s help the Food Bank continue our essential work when our food-insecure neighbors need it the most. Please donate, whether it is your time or money, at LAFoodBank.org. Together, #WeFeedLA.

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