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Congratulations to LABJ Honorees Donald Goodman and Michael Flood, and Food Bank Finalists

Congratulations to LABJ Honorees Donald Goodman and Michael Flood, and Food Bank Finalists

On April 20, 2022, Donald Goodman, Founder and President of Don Lee Farms, and Michael Flood, President and CEO of the LA Regional Food Bank, were honored by the Los Angeles Business Journal (LABJ) at its annual Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards. Donald was honored as the Philanthropist of the Year, and Michael was honored as the Executive of the Year for an Enterprise Nonprofit Organization. 

 

Donald Goodman, Founder and President of Don Lee Farms

Donald Goodman Portrait

Donald Goodman is a visionary philanthropist who has been involved with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank for nearly 40 years. He currently serves on the Food Bank’s Emeritus Council and is the premier sponsor for the Food Bank’s annual Taste of the Rams event that has raised more than $1 million to help fight hunger in our community. He previously served on the Food Bank’s Board of Directors for eight years including three years as Board Chairman. His company, Don Lee Farms, has been a food donor for nearly 40 years, donating millions of pounds of protein food and dairy items valued in the tens of millions of dollars.

Donald has provided much-needed leadership over the years as the Food Bank has increased distribution levels to record highs and expanded the number of people that it reaches throughout Los Angeles County. He serves as Co-Chair of the Food Bank’s Building Hope Campaign to raise $165 million dollars to increase the reach of the Food Bank. Donald and his family made a 7-figure commitment to launch the campaign.

Part of the campaign was to acquire a new facility for the Food Bank. and Donald has served on the Food Bank’s Facility Committee for the past several years. The committee was integral in the Food Bank purchasing and renovating a 265,000 square foot facility in the City of Industry, a facility that will significantly increase the amount of fresh produce, perishable and frozen food distributed by the Food Bank.

 

Michael Flood, President and CEO of the LA Regional Food Bank

Michael Flood, President and CEO

Michael Flood is one of America’s top authorities on food banking and nutrition insecurity. In 2021, as the Food Bank’s pandemic response continued, Flood inspired Food Bank staff, volunteers and partners to continue pushing onward to alleviate high levels of food insecurity. 

Michael Flood led the Food Bank to mobilize one of the greatest food relief efforts in the history of Los Angeles County, with 325 million pounds of food being acquired and distributed to partner agencies and directly to families and individuals since the onset of the pandemic. This is the equivalent of 257 million meals valued at $470 million, not including the COVID-19 test kits, PPE, diapers and other non-food items the Food Bank has distributed during the pandemic. 

Michael provided this leadership while maintaining his calm and collected demeanor throughout the entire crisis. He attended most of the emergency drive-through distributions personally to provide support to the Food Bank’s staff, volunteers and partner organizations, all of whom put themselves at risk of contracting COVID-19, especially before a vaccine was discovered.

Even with the improved public health situation and improved economy, the work of the Food Bank continues at a near-record pace as Michael and the great team at the Food Bank persevere.

 

Finalists

In addition to these two honorees, the Food Bank’s staff and programs were finalists in multiple additional categories for the LABJ Nonprofit & Corporate Citizenship Awards. These finalists were: 

 

Innovative Awareness Campaign: Food From the Bar

Food From The Bar is an annual, month-long fundraising and volunteering effort, held every Spring. The campaign is a friendly competition including legal firms, law schools and legal services organizations, to see who can raise the most funds, acquire the most food, and work the most volunteer hours for the Food Bank in an effort to feed the children of Los Angeles County who face hunger during the summer months. Since the campaign began in Los Angeles in 2009, it has raised more than $5.5 million.

Learn more about Food From the Bar >

 

Innovative Awareness Campaign: NBC4 Help For the Hungry

NBC4’s annual partnership with Southern California Food Banks each winter generates funds to support those in need in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Since 2018, this program has raised $2.2 million+ and provided almost 9 million meals across Southern California. The station has also brought in several community partners each year to help raise more dollars, make big check presentations to inspire viewers to also give, and support the campaign’s goodwill effort.

The LA Regional Food Bank was pleased to see a broadcast media organization use its wide reach consistently year after year to make a big impact on a dire issue impacting so many vulnerable populations in our county and neighboring counties. What is also especially inspiring is that NBC4 knew in-depth about the problems of homelessness, job loss, poverty and food insecurity through its ongoing news coverage and wanted to genuinely do more and make a difference. NBC4 is not only reporting about issues in our communities, it’s helping to alleviate issues in our community.

Learn more about Help For the Hungry >

 

Non-profit team of the year: LA Regional Food Bank Programs Team

The pandemic impacted workflows and production cycles across industries, and the distribution of food was no exception. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank Programs Team quickly transitioned the Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry Program into drive-thru distributions at the onset of the pandemic. The new model allowed for food to be distributed quickly while keeping food recipients, volunteers and staff safe from the virus. As of April 2022, 515+ of these emergency distributions have taken place, coordinated and managed by the Programs Team.

In her 21 years at the Food Bank, Programs Director Hilda Ayala shares that she has never seen the need for food assistance reach levels as it had in the pandemic. “I feel like it’s a pull between my family and society,” Ayala says. “It’s hard not to be emotional. It’s hard not to let it impact me. But the thank-you’s that we get keep us going. Keep me going. Keep me motivated. The thank-yous in the different languages, it’s very touching, and we all get very emotional.”

 

Volunteer of the Year: Mary Connors

Without the help of volunteers, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank’s response to the pandemic could have looked different. Each year the Food Bank welcomes tens of thousands of volunteers, completing roughly 159,000 hours of labor helping on-site at the Food Bank and off-site at food distributions.

Among the volunteers is Mary Connors. She has volunteered with the Food Bank since August 2009, and despite having the title of volunteer, without a doubt, she has become a part of the Food Bank family and joined the force to end hunger in Los Angeles County.

As a young child, Connors didn’t realize that her family was struggling financially, and was having a hard time finding food assistance. Now that she’s older, she knows what thousands of families are going through, and it inspires her while working with the Food Bank.

“Food should not be a right or a privilege – food is a necessity,” Connors said. “It breaks my heart that people don’t have it.”

Learn more about Mary Connors >

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