The Los Angeles Regional Food Banks’ Partner Agency Network distributes the majority of the Food Bank’s food and grocery product. While food is distributed through the Food Bank’s direct programs, like the large drive-thru distributions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the 700 Partner Agencies distribute food locally all over Los Angeles County. Because some agencies operate multiple sites, that means there are roughly 900 locations throughout LA County where people in need can access the nutritious food they need for their families and themselves. These locations are listed on the Food Bank’s Pantry Locator.
Between the outbreak of COVID-19 and the Spring of 2021, the Food Bank added roughly 100 new organizations to this Network. The Partners that existed before the pandemic saw dramatic increases in the amount of food distributed.
Central City Neighborhood Partners (CCNP) has been one of the Food Bank’s partners for almost ten years. Located at the edge of Westlake in Los Angeles, CCNP serves McArthur Park, Koreatown, some parts of Chinatown, parts of the downtown area, and Pico-Union. Margarita Gomez, Executive Director for CCNP, describes the community around CCNP as densely populated, which means the virus spread aggressively throughout the community. She highlighted many in the community worked in the service industry, so the economic impact affected the area disproportionately.
Before the pandemic, CCNP served 100-150 families weekly, but as of June 2021, that number has jumped to 500-600. As one of the Food Bank’s Partner Agencies with breakfast, lunch and after-school meal programs, CCNP has been serving meals to students throughout the pandemic. Naturally, meals will continue this summer and beyond as the need for food assistance remains great throughout LA County.
Walk-up food distributions allow grateful parents and guardians to wait in line for bananas, yogurt, sandwiches, milk and other healthy options for hungry kids.
Alondra Flores has been picking up meals at CCNP for her kids since the pandemic began. Last year, she was injured and underwent surgery. Bedridden for months, Alondra could no longer pick up meals for her three children or herself. However, the CCNP team ensured that they received the nutritious meals they needed each week while Alondra recovered.
Food Bank donors provide desperately needed meals, including summer meals for children, critical as our community still recovers from the deadly pandemic and economic downturn. The number of hungry families, especially children, has increased dramatically across LA County since the pandemic began. Feeding children is Critical during their formative years, where bodies and minds are developing, growing and learning.
Making a gift to the Food Bank is an investment in our future. An investment in the health and happiness of the lives of children who should grow up with every opportunity available to them.