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Food Insecurity Continues to Impact our Community – How One Distribution Helps Hundreds of Families

Food Insecurity Continues to Impact our Community – How One Distribution Helps Hundreds of Families

Hundreds turn out to the Food Bank’s drive-through distribution in Cudahy in search of assistance.

To some Los Angeles County residents, life may seem to slowly return to normal. Children are back in school, dining-out options are available, and events are ongoing.

However, the financial strains of the pandemic are still impacting thousands of individuals significantly, and the recent inflation of everyday essentials has not been of much help to those who continue struggling.

For almost 50 years, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has been fighting food insecurity in our County. When the pandemic hit, the Food Bank turned its Mobile Food Pantry program into massive drive-through distributions, hosting over 250 of these distributions in 2021, and more the previous year, serving 900,000 individuals per month.

We recently attended one of these distributions that continue serving those in need in the City of Cudahy. There, we met several individuals who shared stories of hardship and hope.

Food Distributions Help People Like Alejandro Ortiz Get Back on their Feet

Alejandro Ortiz is one of the millions that are still being affected by the strains of the pandemic. After contracting the virus, Ortiz was unable to work and to provide for his wife and four daughters. As the virus continued to attack his body, his daughters became scared that they were going to lose their father, and feared going out and contracting the virus themselves.

Now recovering from the virus, but without a steady job, Ortiz continues to look for opportunities to help his family in any way he can, including going to the monthly food distributions at Clara Street Park.

My wife is always mindful of what we eat, and she’s always trying to feed us healthy food.

“We try not to focus on the hard situation [of the pandemic], and make the most out of it,” Ortiz said. “With the help we receive here, it’s very useful for us because my wife takes advantage of all the food we receive.”

Ongoing Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Patricia Can is among the millions of LA County individuals who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. After being laid off in August 2020, Can didn’t know what she was going to do. Her rent was due and utility bills continued coming in, but her income was at a halt.

After reaching out to her two sons for help, they promised to help their mother make it through, but she didn’t want to become a burden, so she sought work wherever she could, landing her a dog sitter gig. Soon after, she heard about the monthly food distributions at her local park in Cudahy, and month-to-month, Can is there to help ease the costs of food her sons had taken on.

“All of this that you do is priceless,” she said. “You’re here month-to-month giving us food at no charge. The sacrifice that you are all making, I appreciate it so much.”

Inflation’s Impact on Food Insecurity

In December 2021, inflation increased 7%, directly impacting the lives and livelihoods of millions of individuals who were already impacted by the pandemic. Such was the case of Laura Mayoral and Grace Acuña, two friends who went to the food distribution at Clara Street Park in search of COVID tests but were surprised and glad to have found a food distribution.

In the midst of the pandemic, both Mayoral and Acuña saw their rents increase. As the stay-at-home order was lifted, gas prices began to rise, and so did food, both Mayoral and Acuña’s family budgets were impacted. Now, the two carpool when needed, and limit their car usage in order to save on gas, and use that money elsewhere.

“Everything has gone up in the supermarkets; that has hurt us when paying bills, like our electricity bill,” Acuña said.

“There are times that we drive somewhere because we absolutely have to. We appreciate the help that the Food Bank gives us,” she added.

Thanks to the generosity of our community, individuals like those we met at Clara Street Park in Cudahy are able to get by in today’s rising cost of living. If you are in a position to do so, please donate.

Together, #WeFeedLA

If you are able to, please continue supporting the LA Regional Food Bank because your contribution will go toward food assistance programs that can make a positive difference to many other food-insecure families of Los Angeles County. 

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