Unemployment in Los Angeles County broke 20% over the summer of 2020, and while the numbers are coming down, there are still many people who have been laid off, furloughed or seen a dramatic reduction in their hours.
LA County is home to tens of thousands of restaurants, hotels and multiple theme parks. In normal times, Los Angeles is a favorite tourist destination and an ideal location for conferences and corporate gatherings. As the pandemic hit LA County, the economic impact was felt immediately as many workers found themselves out of work practically overnight.
Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, many restaurant employees have work again, but instead of at a busy restaurant, they are helping glean and package food for the millions of people in LA County who face food insecurity.
Jose Ramirez, one of the employees active in the Food Bank’s restaurant worker program, learned about the opportunity from a news story on Channel 52. He applied, and after having things arranged, started a job that he says he loves.
Before working in the Restaurant Worker Program, Mr. Ramirez worked two jobs, one at a restaurant in the Lakewood Medical Center where he worked from 6 am to 3:30 pm, and another at a Taco Adobo where he worked between 5 pm and 11 pm. He enjoyed both positions, and was valued by the organizations, but to reduce the transmission of the virus, the restaurants had to temporarily close.
Mr. Ramirez says it has been a challenging time for his family, including his wife and two children since he has not had full-time work for 9 months. Food, shoes, clothes, bills and other expenses pile up quickly, and it’s challenging to make ends meet.
“I am so happy to have this work,” said Mr. Ramirez, “It helps my family and me a lot.”
This is just one example of many who have joined the Food Bank’s restaurant worker program which was made possible by a generous anonymous donation.