L.A. Food Banks are Becoming Overcrowded Due to COVID-19
Photo by Sara Carpenter/Shutterstock
Food banks in Los Angeles county have been hit hard due to COVID-19. Food banks are facing skyrocketing demands to feed families.
“This has been a difficult time for all of us,” Board of Directors for the ACTION Food Pantry, Kristi O’Neal told Scriberr News.
“We estimate that our pantry is currently feeding over 11,000 people every week,” O’Neal said.
The ACTION Food Pantry is not only feeding people in the San Gabriel Valley region, but in Los Angeles, Bell, Highland Park, Compton, Long Beach, and 17 other cities.
“We are serving two to three times more families than before COVID,” O’Neal said.
Similar to ACTION Food Pantry, both Friends in Deed and Project 29:11 are experiencing increases.
“In 2019, we averaged 343 families a week. Right now, we are averaging right around 400 families a week,” Friends In Deed Food Pantry Program Director, Tim Histler told Scriberr News.
“Right now, we’re making sure (people) get food,” Histler said.
“We don’t turn anyone away… and we’re able to meet the need of everyone who comes to our food pantry,” Histler added.
President of Project 29:11, Dora Gomez told Scriberr News their average was about 75 families per day, but now they are averaging 250 families.
With more families needing aid, the demand for food is also multiplying. Many food banks are relying on donations.
ACTION Food Pantry’s main source of food comes from Stamp Out Hunger, which is run by the post office. They’ve canceled their event this year.
“Without this source of food, we have really had to rely on the kindness of our local churches and small food drives put on by other social groups,” O’Neal said.
Friends In Deed works with Los Angeles Regional Food, a farmer’s market, and Food Forward to meet their requirements and as well as take donations and food drives.
ACTION Food Pantry, Friends In Deed and Project 29:11 have had to increase their supply to meet the demand for visitors.
While food banks are figuring out the best system to operate during COVID-19, they are also adjusting social distancing and taking extra precautions.
“We are no longer letting the public into our facility and are having clients park in front and serving pre-made boxes of food at the door,” O’Neal said.
“We used to let them choose what they could take, but that would involve clients touching others’ goods, and (we) think this way is safer and with the increased volume, this way is faster,” O’Neal said.