Program created amid pandemic reaches incredible milestone with 3M free meals served

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KABC) -- A program created during the pandemic to help feed people in need has reached an incredible milestone by serving its 3 millionth free meal.

The meals are prepared by the Hospitality Training Academy's "Serving Our Community" program. That program was launched in partnership with UNITE HERE Local 11, the hospitality workers' union, along with its employers, including local hotels and event venues.

Partners include the Los Angeles Convention Center, Levy Restaurants, The JW Marriott LA LIVE, Bonaventure Hotel, Sheraton Grand L.A. and the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Amid the year-long pandemic, the free meals have been a lifeline for approximately 10,000 homebound seniors, people experiencing homelessness and low-income families.

"Behind every single one of those (meals) is a person who felt isolated and lonely, didn't know if they would eat, the most basic human emotions, we met a meal with an act of love," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

"I commend all of you for having the courage (to think_ out-of-the-box and creating such a great program," said Ron Herrera, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

The program has also provided about 1,100 jobs to recently laid off union and non-union workers, including taxi drivers that serve as the delivery drivers.

"It's so significant that at the time of just rabid unemployment and the devastation the pandemic has caused, that there was a program that moved quickly and moved brilliantly to keep people in good jobs," said Julie Su, Secretary of the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency.
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