Ed Rose was one of 17 winners announced at the ceremony in Washington, D.C. The Jefferson Awards are known as the "Nobel Prize" of public service.
Rose founded the San Fernando Valley-based MEND, which provides food, healthcare and other services to 32,000 people every month. Rose was first nominated back in January by his volunteers at MEND.
The Jefferson Award is not a monetary prize; honorees get a medal and a certificate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.