Almost 90 years ago, the country was going through one of the toughest financial times in history – the Great Depression. The unemployment rate peaked at 25.6% in May 1933, and millions were out of a job and/or a source to feed themselves or their families. When the pandemic hit Los Angeles in March 2020, thousands of people lost their jobs or saw their wages affected. And like in the Great Depression, many were left out of a source of income.
Unlike in the Great Depression, Los Angeles residents now have several resources to seek when it came to food assistance, including the Workforce Development and Aging Community Services (WDACS), a Los Angeles Regional Food Bank Partner Agency.
Carmen Doop, a senior living in East Los Angeles and a food recipient at WDACS, recalls her mother sharing stories, experiences, and lessons from the Great Depression-era that are now helping her get through yet another tough time in the country’s history.
While millions were out of a job at the time, Doop’s grandmother also had to face another challenge, providing for seven children after her husband passed away. Even though times were tough, she provided for her family by making and selling tortillas to anyone who would take them.
It was then that Doop’s own mother also learned to survive with whatever she had, and she did not think twice about passing on those lessons to her daughter, in case tough times rose.
“My mom taught me well,” Doop said. “Not to go to these places where they charge you an arm and a leg. I can’t afford them! I’m very grateful to have this here.”
Unfortunately, Doop and her mother and grandmother have experienced tough times and food insecurity. But luckily, Doop is able to turn to WDACS just down the street from her home for the food that will help her stretch her dollars and have a healthy meal.
“I think it’s just gone down the path – my grandma, my mom, and now myself,” Doop said. “We’ve all had hard times, but we’ve known how to get past it. We’ve known how to survive.
“You get your beans, you get your rice, sometimes you get oatmeal, you get those meals that you can prepare yourself and they last a long time,” she added.
Thanks to her experiences and the services provided by WDACS, Doop is able to get by. Programs like the one available at WDACS are supported by donations given to the Food Bank. If you are in a position to do so, please donate.
“If everyone puts out a hand and says, ‘Let me help you across the street,’ ‘Let me give you a little something,’” Doop said.
“We will get past this. I know because we are survivalists; I think we’ll get through it. There are so many people that have been so spoiled with things that they don’t know what they have until they lose it all,” she finalized.