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Feeding the Community that Saved Him

Feeding the Community that Saved Him

Thanks to your generous support, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank can perform critical work providing food across LA County. We now reach so many people each month that it is easy to get lost in the numbers and forget that each person has a story. People like Eric Perkins remind us of just how large the impact of a healthy, nutritious meal can be.

After years of staying clean from drugs, Eric relapsed at the age of 51. He went to the Long Beach Rescue Mission and enrolled in its New Life Program, a year-long residential program with wrap-around social services that help addicts regain control of their lives. After completing the program, he impressed the staff at the Mission so much that they hired him to work in
the kitchen.

As two of the Food Bank’s agency partners, the Mission and its sister agency Lydia House, rely on donated food from the Food Bank. Before he began working in the kitchen, Eric’s job was to drive the Mission’s truck to the Food Bank several times a week. Today, Eric still tries to make the trip with Mission drivers whenever he can. He likes to stay connected to the warehouse and logistics team at the Food Bank, who help deliver around 500,000 lbs of food across the county every day.

Eric learned how to cook from his mother back in New Jersey, and he now supervises a small kitchen crew. Together they prepare daily meals for thousands of people served by the Mission, including huge holiday meals with turkey and all the trimmings. Eric has come to appreciate how cooking and serving good food with love is a key component of the Long Beach Rescue Mission’s comprehensive effort to rebuild lives and communities.

“This basically is what the program is, feeding the community,” Perkins says later after the food is all gone. “For me, this food, it means a chance to try to give them something to enjoy. I don’t just say, ‘Here take it.’ I try to make it look different, make it taste different. Nourishment. I know what it’s like to be hungry. So someone coming in here, I just try to treat them with dignity and respect in the best way I can.”

The Food Bank is proud to provide food to agency partners like Eric at the Long Beach Rescue Mission. In Long Beach and all over Los Angeles County, this is the good work that your donations help foster. If you are in a position to do so, please donate. Together, #WeFeedLA.

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