Local Food Drives Are Becoming Essential
On January 9th, Cerritos College held a food drive-thru to supply struggling families with groceries. This event was held in partnership with ABCUSD, the LA regional food bank, Teamsters Local 396, and Cristina Garcia, a California State Assembly member. Families stayed in their car as volunteers supplied them with a box of non-perishable and perishable foods to minimize as much contact as possible. The food drive was held in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and provided around 2,300 families with groceries, such as vegetables and fruits.
Food drives have been occurring for many years, but they have become more frequent and essential for many families during these difficult times. Many families have been struggling, but food drives allow families to have a sense of relief. Ever since the pandemic hit, California’s unemployment rate spiked to 15.5%, leaving many families left struggling. Even though the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.2% since last December, families are still experiencing hardships. Since many families cannot make as much money for essential items, food drives have become a way to help struggling families.
Photo obtained from Cristina Garcia on Twitter
Throughout LA County, many cities have monthly, or even weekly, food drives for any resident. Hawaiian Gardens tends to have a food drive weekly at their city hall, providing groceries from fruits and vegetables to even chicken and meat.
“I come to the food drives here [Hawaiian Gardens] almost weekly. I really appreciate all the help we are getting from our community during the pandemic. It really does help, even if it seems as if it doesn’t make an impact, it does,” says a resident who wishes to stay anonymous.
From helping out families during these unprecedented times, food drives also bring the community together. Food drives are only possible with the help of volunteers and generous donations from food banks and residents.
The amount of volunteers that come together to help is astonishing. To this, Cristina Garcia proudly stated, “Events like this are a reminder that when we come together as a community during the toughest times, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Food drives have shown the impact volunteers have when they all come together to achieve something great. Volunteers help by setting up food drives, preparing food boxes/tote bags, and distributing the boxes. At the Cerritos College food drive, local residents and committee members were the ones who set everything up and helped the day of the drive. Volunteers showed up to help make the food distribution flow at a smooth pace. Without the help of volunteers, none of this would be possible, and many people would have been struggling even more.
As the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank describes in their mission statement, “We believe in the power of community. We collaborate and build strong relationships, based on trust, with and among those who share our vision of ending hunger in Los Angeles County”.
If you would like to volunteer for food drives, or make any donations, visit the LA Food Bank website or ask your local community leader for any upcoming opportunities.