For over 50 years, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has been working to fulfill its mission to mobilize resources to fight hunger in our community. We Help, a Food Bank partner agency, also works towards the same goal of alleviating hunger in their community. Together, the Food Bank and its partner agencies, like We Help, have been making a positive impact in the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals each month.
Mike Summers, We Help’s Director of Operations, knows of the needs of the community, as does every team member and volunteer, as they aim to provide the best experience possible at every distribution, giving those who feel uneasy asking for assistance peace of mind.
Working with hundreds of partner agencies and meeting their needs, as well as the needs of those seeking food assistance, is an everyday job for the Food Bank. As the need grows in our communities, the Food Bank supports its partner agencies in various ways, whether it be through providing additional food or through agency capacity grants.
Like many Food Bank partner agencies, We Help needed help in order to continue serving its community. When the pandemic hit Los Angeles in March 2020, We Help was down to its last batch of canned goods, according to Summers. Fortunately, Summers received a phone call from the Food Bank the day after the distribution of their last batch, offering the agency more food. For Summers, the call was a ‘blessing.’
Through the Food Bank, We Help was also able to start picking up food from its local Amazon Fresh store as part of the Extra Helpings Program. Because of the additional intake of food, We Help needed refrigeration. The Food Bank once again came in to offer refrigeration, including freezers and a refrigerated van that has supported We Help in the transportation and delivery of food to those in need.
Diane Grey seeks additional food assistance from We Help every Saturday. As an older disabled woman, the money she receives on disability and CalFresh just isn’t enough to get her by, so she attends the food pantry’s distribution as a way to get additional food assistance.
She tells everyone she meets about the assistance she gets at We Help and how it can help them, too.
“If it wasn’t for the Food Bank, what would we do with the little bit of food stamps we get?” Grey said.