Los Angeles County officials voted Tuesday to press for more state funding for food assistance programs, pointing to projections that 16% of Californians will suffer food insecurity due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn recommended reaching out to the county’s legislative advocates in Sacramento to support new funding for pilot food assistance programs run by organizations acting as “food first responders.”
“Sadly, many residents lack a smartphone to have food delivered at their home or groceries dropped at their door,” Solis said. “Others are left at their homes for weeks, experiencing symptoms or awaiting test results, without enough food. We must support state legislation addressing the needs of residents who lack access to healthy food, but who must stay home.”
The nonprofit organization Feeding America projects that up to 2.1 million additional Californians, including 852,730 children, will find themselves unsure of where they will find their next meal as a result of the pandemic. If that forecast holds, it means that 6.4 million or 16% of California residents will need help accessing healthy food for themselves or their families.
Looking for new, innovative ways to get food to vulnerable communities will be key to address food insecurity and the effects of the pandemic on the food industry, the supervisors said. Solis thanked one group in particular, pointing to World Central Kitchen’s role in feeding Californians while supporting restaurant workers.
Chef Jose Andres, founder of World Central Kitchen, said he was hopeful that the work could continue.
“This is a win-win solution — restaurants can keep their lights on and their employees working while keeping their neighbors and communities fed,” Andres said.
“We are happy to be standing alongside the county’s supervisors, with the people of the LAUSD, the county health services and more to be making sure that everyone who needs a warm plate of food can get one — and we are hopeful that the state’s legislators can support this work so that we can continue it into the future,” he said.
World Central Kitchen’s “Restaurants for the People” program distributes meals as well as grants to local restaurants in several cities across the U.S. In addition to fighting food insecurity, the program helps restaurant and food workers get their jobs back and reinvigorates agricultural communities hit hard by the pandemic.
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