Among the 600+ partner agencies in the Food Bank’s network, a handful of them are missions. While only about 10 percent of the people served by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank’s network are facing homelessness, some of our agencies, like the Los Angeles Mission, provide vital resources and cater specifically to this vulnerable population, as well as those working to get back on their feet after incarceration, recovery or treatment programs and other obstacles. The LA Mission provides more than 400,000 meals every year through multiple programs and receives the majority of its food from the Food Bank. Without the Food Bank, they would not be able to do this work.
With the growing need for intervention programs in our community, the Food Bank is playing a vital role in ensuring that agencies like the LA Mission have what they need to serve people in need.
David Thomas is a former student of the LA Mission’s programs. He is also the Food Service Director and has been with the Mission for 20 years. He plans the menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner and feeds approximately 1,600 people a day. “What keeps me motivated is I’ve lived the life of the people downtown,” he says. “I went to school to become a chef, so now I can give back and make sure they get the meals they need to keep them going.”
The LA Mission received nearly 200,000 pounds of food from the Food Bank in 2018. This included fresh produce, meat and staple items. “I thank the Food Bank for always having something for us,” said David. “Whatever meal I put on the table, it has to be good enough for my children to eat.”
The Food Bank’s support not only empowers agencies like the LA Mission to fill nutritional gaps for people in need. Sometimes a community of kindness has a way of changing a person’s entire perspective. “When I was out there, I was lost,” David said. “I felt like no one loved me. I had no hope.” What made the difference for David was finding out that his community did care about him and that there places like the LA Mission that gave without asking anything in return. “The best part about this place is finding out someone loves you who doesn’t even know you.”
David says often times after a meal, guests will come back to the kitchen and offer to clean up. “They see the love from this place,” David says. “When you treat people with kindness and love they want to give back.”
In addition to cooked meals for guests facing a variety of hardships, including homelessness, the LA Mission distributes boxes of groceries for low-income individuals and families who are living in Single Room Occupancy (SRO) dwellings, government or subsidized housing or hotels. Approximately 50 boxes containing staple items, meat, fresh produce, canned vegetables and other nutritious foods from the Food Bank are distributed every Wednesday. The goal of this program is to provide some financial relief for people getting back on their feet while ensuring that they can put healthy meals on the table for themselves and their family.
“The food that we get from the Food Bank is a great deal of what we give away in our food boxes,” said Ralph Sutton, Food Box Outreach Coordinator and LA Mission Audio Visual Department Coordinator. “The meat that we get is invaluable. It’s really hard to describe the impact but the Food Bank is a crucial and integral part of what we do. Thank you all for helping us.”
Just as the LA Mission cannot meet the increasing need for food assistance with the support of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, we cannot meet the increased needs of our Partner Agency Network without the help of generous donors and volunteers. The Food Bank is able to leverage the incredible support of thousands of volunteers and food donors so that every dollar donated can provide up to four nutritious meals. Please consider joining giving today. Together, we feed LA.