Without the support from volunteers, thousands of nonprofit organizations, including the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, would struggle to maximize their reach. In 2021, tens of thousands of individuals helped sort, glean and pack millions of pounds of food that were distributed to 800,000 clients each month. Additionally, those volunteers helped the Food Bank distribute that food in one of our over 300 distributions, as well as with one of our more than 600 partner agencies.
One of those agencies includes the Carson Senior Center in Carson. Every month, hundreds of seniors drive up or walk by to collect the box of food that will help them get through the month with a fixed income and the rising cost of food. There, they are greeted with a box of food and a smile from one of the Food Bank staff members or volunteers.
The following are stories of those volunteers who have, in many shapes and forms, impacted the lives of the seniors who attend this distribution.
Paul White has been a long-time supporter of the Food Bank, 15 years to be exact. A volunteer for six years, White realized that he had been very fortunate in his life and had the opportunity to share more than just his time with the more than 2 million individuals who are food insecure in Los Angeles County.
When the Food Bank announced its Building Hope Campaign, a 165-million-dollar campaign to increase the Food Bank’s capacity to better fight hunger in our community, White saw his opportunity to give back financially, becoming one of the first donors to the campaign.
“If you can afford to give back to charitable organizations, I can’t think of a better cause than the Food Bank,” White said. “It’s a great organization, it’s well-managed, the money goes where it needs to go, it goes to the people who get the food, and I think the cause is about a basic and as important a cause as it can be – which is handing out food to people who need it.”
For Douglas Green, volunteering with the Food Bank has become one of the best experiences he’s had. About a year ago, Green started volunteering his time at the Carson Senior Center and from the get-go, he knew he wanted to return.
The Carson Senior Center distribution has become one of the top distribution sites for volunteering, with each distribution date having a waitlist to volunteer. Even though volunteers at this distribution may change monthly, there is consistency with the majority of the returning volunteers. With time, Green and the rest of the volunteers have formed an unbreakable bond like no other, almost like family, holding friendly competitions at distributions, and supporting each other.
For Merry Weir, volunteering at the Food Bank, whether at distributions or in one of the three warehouses, has become a monthly ritual. As an employee at a school district, Wier is given a flex day. While she can choose to rest, do other activities or run errands, Weir chooses to head to the Food Bank and volunteer her time.
“Sign up to Commerce, come to Downtown LA or just look on the volunteer page on the website, and you’ll see all kinds of opportunities, maybe even right in your own neighborhood so you don’t have to travel far,” Weir said.
As we move further into 2023, new data is emerging that highlights the alarming extent of food insecurity in Los Angeles. Learn more here.
Foothill Unity Center in Monrovia helps families from all walks of life get the food assistance they need. Learn more here.
The CalFresh program will change eligibility criteria for college students starting June 10. Learn more here.
The Food Bank’s partner agency is addressing food insecurity in the San Fernando Valley. Learn more here.