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Hunger in Los Angeles County: A Growing Need

Hunger in Los Angeles County: A Growing Need

Food Insecurity in our County continues to grow as everyday essentials continue to rise

Unfortunately, nutrition insecurity in Los Angeles County isn’t going away. If anything, the level of need for healthy food items is high, and it continues to grow. While inflation has slowed in recent months, January 2024 still reported a 3.1% inflation rate year over year, and many people are still recovering from the price increases that took place over the past few years.

As defined by the USDA, food insecurity is when people don’t have reliable access to nutritious food and may not know from where their next meal will come. The reasons behind food insecurity vary, but they include poverty and unemployment, lack of affordable housing, and chronic health issues. Living in an expensive county, such as LA County, and considering the aforementioned, many are at risk of struggling with food insecurity.

For over 50 years, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has worked tirelessly to fulfill its mission to mobilize resources in our communities to alleviate hunger. In 2023, the Food Bank served an average of 900,000 individuals each month, nearly 10 percent of the County’s population, distributing 115 million pounds of food and products. However, the Food Bank can’t do it alone.

Fueling Food Insecurity

The hike in inflation of everyday goods and services, a possible 4%-6% increase in rent, and the decreased funding to food assistance programs like CalFresh have all contributed to the increased levels of food insecurity. Individuals and families who never sought food assistance saw themselves visiting the Food Bank’s Pantry Locator for more information. 

Maria was one of the millions of individuals who felt inflation hit home. As a retired grandmother, she thought her work life was over. But what would’ve been a time to rest and focus on herself turned into a hardship when she inherited her four grandchildren. 

Maria does her best to provide for her grandchildren and herself, but the $1,500 she receives monthly isn’t enough for her household. Because of this, she took on a part-time job as a caregiver, but even that salary isn’t enough to take care of them all. And with CalFresh benefits decreasing last March, things got tougher for Maria and her family.

Fortunately, the Food Bank’s partner agency, Foothill Unity Center in Monrovia, helps individuals like Maria who experience hard times and need help to pick themselves up.

RELATED STORY: Maria Was Trying to Make Ends Meet. Then, the CalFresh Emergency Allotment Ended.

Local Food Banks Helping Communities

Like Maria, hundreds of thousands of individuals benefit from the food assistance they receive from the Food Bank, whether through direct or indirect programs.

From Long Beach to the Antelope Valley, the Food Bank partners with more than 600 nonprofit organizations that serve the entire County. Thanks to these partnerships, the Food Bank can reach as many individuals as possible. 

In Downey, the Desert Reign Church stands as a pillar of community support, committed to uplifting its residents through various acts of service. Among its impactful initiatives is its partnership with the Food Bank, which directly addresses the pressing issue of food insecurity in our County.

The cornerstone of Desert Reign Church’s fight against food insecurity involves a drive-through food distribution event hosted twice a month, providing an essential opportunity for community members to access vital nutritional food resources. The Church will see about 250 families on average at these distributions, shared Outreach Director Leonardo Lopez. 

Lopez feels that anyone can face food insecurity at some point, and having a safe place for families and individuals seeking food assistance is essential. “We know that it’s hard and that it’s been hard, and we love to be able to have a space for people.”

RELATED STORY: LA Regional Food Bank Proudly Partners With Desert Reign Church

Our work to alleviate hunger in Los Angeles County is not done. If you are in a position to do so, consider donating to the Food Bank.

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When you give monthly, you provide food to a family in need. Together, #WeFeedLA.

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