The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank (LARFB) serves more than 300,000 people each month through a variety of programs meant to “mobilize resources to fight hunger in the community.” In the LA region where 16% or 1.4 million residents don’t know where their next meal is coming from, LARFB goes beyond providing emergency food via its 625 partner agencies to include efforts to support and advocate for legislation and policies that reduce hunger.
In 2016, LARFB’s long-time supporter, Albertsons Companies Foundation, invited the food bank to apply for funding to support efforts to end childhood hunger through the Hunger Is initiative, a joint charitable program they have with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF). With 1 in 4 children in Los Angeles County facing food insecurity and children under the age of 18 making up almost a quarter of the LARFB’s clients, the staff jumped on the opportunity for additional support. The Hunger Is grant helps address a glaring need in the Los Angeles County: the thousands of kids facing a hunger gap of weekends and summers when school food was not available.
With the additional support, LARFB has been able to use its existing network of agencies to reach schools and Boys & Girls Clubs in the expansive Los Angeles region to provide nutritious breakfast to kids. They provide shelf-stable foods like whole grain cereal, pasta and fresh fruit to children for nutritious breakfast during the school year and to fill weekend gaps during summer when kids are not receiving school meals. Currently, with the support of Hunger Is, the program serves 1,470 food-insecure elementary school children as part of the breakfast program.
“This program has been a lifeline for children who don’t always know where their next meal is coming from,” says Courtney Morra, Manager of Marketing and Communications for LARFB. “When we provide resources to children, it’s not just for them to have enough meals for that day. It’s about meeting their basic needs so they can focus and perform in school and ultimately break the cycle of poverty in their community.”
WhyHunger recently visited the LARFB and the Antelope Valley Boys & Girls Club to see the breakfast program in action and learn about their efforts to ensure all children in their community have access to nutritious food and a bright future. Check out this short video to see the impact of their work.
Hunger Is, a joint charitable program of the Albertsons Companies Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), builds awareness and raises funds to end childhood hunger. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank received a grant to fund their efforts. This is the fifth in a WhyHunger series of profiles of grant recipients and their impact.