The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank works with 600 partner agencies across Los Angeles County. While the Food Bank has joined forces with Los Angeles County and other organizations throughout the community to provide large drive-thru distributions, the partner agency network is working harder than ever to meet the increased need.
The majority of the Food Bank’s partner agencies are open, but unfortunately, some have had to temporarily suspend distribution due to COVID-19. Partner Agencies often rely heavily on volunteers, who may be unable to help as frequently. Two agencies near Immanuel Presbyterian needed to suspend distribution due to the virus. Those closures, plus the increased demand, have caused significant need in Koreatown.
One of the Food Bank’s Partner Agencies, Immanuel Presbyterian in Koreatown, is meeting the significant extra need in their community by scaling up from one weekly food distribution to six. The number of people they have helped has increased from 120 to over 1,000 in just three weeks.
Virginia Beaboa, Director of Operations, sees the food distributions as a way for the Church to meet the needs of the community. In addition to their weekly services, Immanuel Presbyterian would typically host events and activities for the community. Now, with the necessary precautions being taken to fight COVID-19, those activities are no longer taking place. Virginia and her team assessed their resources and decided the best way to meet the needs of the community at this time was to scale up food distributions.
“We wanted to set up and meet the gap,” Beaboa said. “I have seen – especially in the past several weeks – just relief on their faces when we are able to help them meet a need for their families, their kids and their elderly.”
Mar Anthony Aparicio, Music Director at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, describes how members of his family have been laid off – his mother, after 30 years with the same hotel. He is thankful for the food, which he uses to provide for his family. “Thank God we have a Food Bank,” he said. “It’s the food itself, but it brings hope.”
Immanuel Presbyterian is one of the hundreds of Food Bank partners who have dramatically stepped up their service to the community amid the crisis.