Before the pandemic, the Church of the Redeemer reached about 165 families each week. Now, there are over 1,000 people. Like so many of the Food Bank’s partner agencies, Church of the Redeemer has had to dramatically scale up its work to try and meet the heightened demand created by COVID-19 and the continuing economic impact.
While many are accustomed to seeing the large drive-thru distributions on the news, the work of the LA Regional Food Bank goes back more than 45 years, and a critical tool in the fight against hunger is the Partner Agency Network. To address the high levels of food insecurity in LA County, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank partners with 700 Partner Agencies to complete the critical work. Partnerships with other non-profit agencies, like Church of the Redeemer in Baldwin Park, are how the majority of food and grocery products are delivered throughout the entire County.
The LA Regional Food Bank provides food and grocery items to those in need through these Partner Agencies but also provides assistance in other ways. Agencies can describe their unique needs to the Food Bank, and resources can be mobilized to support those partners to distribute food in their local communities. For example, the Church of the Redeemer has received a manual rolling conveyor belt, a pallet jack, a 3-door freezer, a 3-door refrigerator and other items to support their work.
Many of the Partner Agencies run completely on the support of volunteers, and the LA Regional Food Bank can also provide assistance by helping to place volunteers into shifts. Ultimately, these investments allow more food to reach those in need—people like Jacqueline.
Jacqueline comes to the Church of the Redeemer for food assistance because, in her words, she “needs the food.” She has never received food stamps and struggles to make ends meet. She finds that the food assistance opens up her budget for other food items, as well as taking care of other critical expenses like fixing her car and paying other bills.
Many of the volunteers in Bernal’s program are food recipients as well, and Bernal describes how she was once in need of food assistance. That valuable perspective allows her to appreciate just how valuable food assistance is.
The Food Bank is working hard to reach everyone who is in need of food assistance, and it is thanks to the entire community’s generosity that the critical work of the Food Bank is possible. If you are able to give a donation, please visit LAFoodBank.org/donate.