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Lack of donations forces Covina food bank to close doors

January 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
It's the end of an era in Covina: For nearly 80 years, volunteers have brought hope to needy families at the Covina Area Emergency Aid Center. But now those doors are closing. Donations just haven't been able to keep up with the growing demand

Janice Lussier says she has relied on getting food from the Covina Area Emergency Aid Center for years. She is heartbroken the center is closing its doors.

Volunteers at the center say there has been a dramatic drop in donations over the last few years, forcing the center to shut its doors.

"Back when my daughter was young I came here to get help because I was a single mom and I didn't have enough money to get food, pay a babysitter and all of that," said Lussier. "I was here in November because I didn't have any money to go out and buy Thanksgiving, and they gave me a turkey and they gave me all kinds of food," said Lussier.

Covina Area Emergency Aid has been around since 1933. Volunteers say over the last several years the need has gotten so much greater than the supply they have no other choice but to close.

It's alarming. It's just a sign of the times, I would say. We just can't keep up with the demand anymore," said Harry Anderson, a food bank volunteer.

Ernest Rodriguez says he and his wife are both disabled and depend on the food center to help make ends meet.

"This one is shutting down, and one by one they are just like a domino effect," said Ernest Rodriguez.

"I feel bad because everyone in the area needs the help that are lower income, disabled, homeless and we have quite a few in our area and there is other food banks but they are all having a hard time," said Sharon Rodriguez.

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, the largest food bank in L.A. County, provides food aid to 640 food centers, pantries and other volunteer agencies throughout L.A. County.

Officials with the Regional Food Bank say demand for food aid has increased 80 percent in the last four years while donations have declined.

To find a pantry or other center serviced by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, go to the organization's website, www.lafoodbank.org/pantry-locator.