The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank launched a year-long observance of its 40th anniversary today with a city proclamation marking Feb. 20 as “Los Angeles Regional Food Bank Alleviate Hunger Day.” The Food Bank has served one billion pounds of food to the hungry in Los Angeles County since its humble inception in Pasadena by cook Tony Collier in 1973.
On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, the Food Bank thanked two of its largest corporate supporters:
• Ralphs, which has provided 34 million pounds of food to the Los Angeles Food Bank since 2002, helps lead the 40th fundraising campaign with a $150,000 donation and continues to support the Food Bank’s volunteer program.
• The Walt Disney Company, as part of its Magic of Healthy Living program, has presented a $100,000 donation to support the BackPack program – providing nutritious food for six meals for children over the weekend – to help launch the 40th initiative. The company also provides regular volunteer support, including its annual Family Volunteer Day.
The Food Bank is also challenging L.A. county residents to aid the cause with a 40 Things You Can Do list of simple acts to help. If the 9.8 million residents of Los Angeles exercised their “Power of One,” everyone would have food on the table.
One man started what has become a lifeline for one million people annually, including 400,000 children and 100,000 seniors. Today, the Food Bank – the second oldest in the nation – distributes 1 million pounds of food every week, enough for 830,000 meals. It serves all of L.A. County, 4,000 square miles with the largest population of any county in the nation. One out of every six people in Los Angeles County experiences hunger and, to date, the Food Bank has served more than 1 billion pounds of food.
The Food Bank has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, with food distribution increasing 70 percent since 2007. However, the need is not diminishing. While the Food Bank currently services 653 agencies (through 1,078 programs and distribution sites), another 600+ agencies are on a waiting list. An estimated 700,000 people in the greater L.A. remain food insecure … meaning they go hungry and need our help!
The Food Bank has been recognized by Feeding America for Organizational Efficiency as measured by “Meals Distributed per Dollar” and “Program Expenses Percent of Operating Expenses” as part of the Excellence in Food Banking initiative. 97 percent of cash and in-kind donations go directly to programs.
From large corporate sponsorship to a modest contribution ($1 provides four meals), to packing food for distribution (32,000 volunteers assist annually), to just being conscious of your own food usage (40 percent of food purchased in the U.S. each year goes to waste), we can all make a difference!
For more information or to get involved, visit: www.lafoodbank.org.