The economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic means thousands more of our neighbors are now facing food insecurity. The Food Bank has been holding drive-through distributions to serve 500,000 residents per month in areas throughout LA County.
As the nation’s most populous county, Los Angeles is home to more than 10 million people, 1 in 5 of which are food-insecure. In our county, 17% of our neighbors live below the poverty line, a percentage significantly above the national average. Food insecurity impacts families and individuals of various education levels, occupations and ethnicities in all LA County regions. Children, seniors, people with disabilities and low-income families can be among the most vulnerable.
The coronavirus pandemic’s economic toll has only exasperated the growing problem of food insecurity in LA County. While everyone has been affected differently by the pandemic, those facing food insecurities have been hit especially hard. One in four children relies on school for their meals. Since schools closed in March, the Food Bank has been working hard to bring nutritious food to students and their families in need. Additionally, with the unemployment rate now at 20%, many of our clients are grappling with furloughs, layoffs and reduced working hours.
For instance, when the entertainment industry shut down in March, many workers found themselves suddenly out of jobs. With a county as populous as Los Angeles, many of our neighbors are in need and thankfully, there are even more of us that can help.
Since March, the Food Bank has partnered with 41 new agencies and organized over 80 drive-through distributions to reach neighbors in all parts of LA County. Fifty of our partner agencies have faced challenges as they continue distributions since the pandemic began and many of those still in service have become overwhelmed by demand. Some food pantries are no longer able to supply essential meals to the communities they serve, while others have scaled up from one distribution to many to meet the extra need. Over the last three months, the Food Bank has worked hard to mitigate these challenges by scheduling additional distributions, not only in the city of Los Angeles but also across the 5,000 square miles of Los Angeles County.
Drive-through distributions allow us to provide nutritious meals while following Public Health guidelines. As unemployment skyrockets, many of our neighbors are facing food insecurity for the first time. Our drive-through distributions serve between 1,000-7,560 families at each location. Through partnering with Amazon, the Food Bank has also reached more seniors than ever before, providing needed groceries to their doorsteps so they can stay safer at home. The Food Bank has also supplemented the “Grab and Go” programs of multiple school districts to provide additional food to those in need. During the last few months, with the help of our donors, partners and volunteers, we’ve been able to serve an unprecedented number of clients and hold drive-through distributions in more than 30 areas of LA County.
In January 2020, the Food Bank served about 300,000 clients per month. Now, that figure is more than 500,000. The economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic has inflated demand for food assistance. The Food Bank is working hard to reach our neighbors and held recent distributions in locations from Long Beach in the South to Palmdale in the North.
Since March, we’ve organized up to eight drive-through distributions per week in different communities. In May alone, the Food Bank held almost 30 distributions in 18 different areas. Among other locations, drive-through distributions took place in Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bell, Burbank, Carson, Commerce, Compton, Covina, Downey, East Los Angeles, Glendale, Huntington Park, Inglewood, La Puente, Lake Los Angeles, Littlerock, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Maywood, Norwalk, Monterey Park, Paramount, Pico Rivera, San Fernando, San Pedro, South Los Angeles, South Gate, Sylmar, Torrance, Van Nuys and Wilmington. To find a distribution near you, visit LAFoodBank.org/findfood.
Between mid-March and the middle of June, the Food Bank has provided 27.5 million meals and distributed 33 million pounds of food to those in need. Please help us reach all of Los Angeles County and feed a record number of our neighbors. For more information and updates, visit lafoodbank.org.