New federal relief bill could bring extension of services to food insecure
Los Angeles County hosted its 100th free drive-up food distribution event since the COVID-19 pandemic started at Good Samaritan Hospital in the Westlake area on Thursday.
The giveaway, organized in partnership with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, will also mark the 10 millionth pound of food provided to residents via drive-through events since last March under the #LetsFeedLACounty banner.
An estimated one in four county residents has suffered at least one instance of food insecurity since the pandemic started, according to a recent USC study. The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmingly affected women, people with low incomes and the unemployed. Higher income groups that do not typically struggle to afford food have also been affected. According to the USC study, the following groups are the most impacted:
- Low-income, which includes un- and under-employed (82%).
- Between 18 to 40 years old (59%).
- Female (57%).
- Children in the household (50%).
- Single parent household (36%).
- Unemployed (36%).
- COVID-infected (12%).
The study also found that 40% of all Latino households, 39% of Black/African American households, 28% of Asian households and 21% of White (non-Hispanic) households in L.A. County experienced at least one instance of food insecurity during the given dates.
“A combination of federal relief, community partnerships and a commitment to serving our most vulnerable has led to this milestone that serves as a reminder of how many families are still suffering from sustained food insecurity,” Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis said in a statement. “With the passage of the latest federal relief bill, I am committed alongside our partners at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to serving our communities with the resources they need because no one should go to bed hungry.”
While contents of emergency food kits vary from week to week, a typical box contains enough items to sustain a family of four for a week. The kit usually contains an assortment of fresh produce, protein, grains and beans.
The boxes also contain enrollment information about other food relief services available through the county: CalFresh monthly grocery benefits; Woman, Infant and Children nutritional support (WIC); and Older Adult Meal Programs through the Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services unit (WDACS).
“These drive-through events have been a lifeline for people in need,” said Food Branch Director for Los Angeles County’s Emergency Operations Center Gary Gero. “But eligible residents should enroll in WIC and CalFresh programs, as they provide ongoing support throughout the year.”
Residents who are grappling with food insecurity can also call the County’s 2-1-1 help line to find resources near them. Counselors provide information in several languages.