Alison Booth is a longtime Los Angeles Regional Food Bank donor and supporter and, now, volunteer. Like so many others in Los Angeles County, she lost her job unexpectedly in March of 2020. She reached out to share what volunteering with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank meant to her last year:
“Volunteering with the Food Bank was the greatest gift I could receive. You made me feel useful and gave me a reason to wake up in the morning, when there wasn’t much to look forward to. All of the staff and volunteers radiated so much positive energy, that depression never had a chance to darken my spirit. All of us are truly blessed to have the LA Food Bank in our community. Thank you for giving to me a sense of purpose and raising my spirit.”
Alison spent her volunteer hours sorting food at our South LA headquarters, packing food boxes at our Commerce warehouse and distributing grab-and-go meal kits to families at various school sites. “My advice to people thinking about volunteering: DO IT! It sounds cliche, but you truly reap more than you sow. Your muscles will get a workout, but the joy that comes from volunteering and working with others for a greater good is priceless. Volunteering during the pandemic erased the uselessness I felt when my work shut down. I encourage everyone to just take that first step and sign-up for a shift. You will not regret it!”
The pandemic is exacerbating those already food-insecure in our community. The 2 million children, families, seniors and individuals who struggled with food insecurity before the pandemic are having an even harder time. Many are experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic and its related economic downturn and are turning to the Food Bank for the first time. Between March 13, 2020, and February 8, 2021, the Food Bank distributed 168 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 137 meals. Volunteers are a critical part of our mission and have helped the Food Bank expand our reach to those who need help now more than ever. In a regular year, about 30,000 volunteers donate their time, helping on-site at the Food Bank and at food distribution sites. This volunteer effort is equal to the equivalent of ~76 full-time employees. Volunteers provide 33% of overall hours worked.
Being a non-profit organization, the Food Bank relies on the kindness of people like Alison, all of our Food Bank volunteers, our network agency partners, donors and the generous support of our community. We are grateful for Alison and all those that give help. Together, #WeFeedLA.
If you would like to join Alison and volunteer your time with the Food Bank, please visit www.LAFoodBank.org/ volunteer for opportunities to help us fight hunger.