LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With more people struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding a warm meal has become a bigger challenge.
Lunch in the Park, a newly created nonprofit based in Los Angeles, is set on a mission to help individuals and their families experiencing homelessness by providing free food.
"The issue we have here is so serious. It's really complex; it's really complicated," said Leslie Song, founder of Lunch in the Park.
Launched late last year, Song began delivering home-cooked meals twice a week to MacArthur Park located in the Westlake neighborhood.
"MacArthur Park is really a hub for many people who are homeless or having a real difficult time paying their bills," said Song.
When the pandemic hit, the demand for meals greatly increased. What started as 25 hot meals has now grown to dozens, feeding about 200 people every week.
"It's more crowded and there's more new faces," Song told ABC7. "A lot more people, and the people that would come through [to] get our meals, at least half of them were new to the park. There were people that we didn't recognize."
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, her free food program is struggling to keep up and meet people's needs.
"Money-wise it's a little tricky, but I try to have protein and green food - and healthy food," said Song. "They are really appreciative, they really are...It's really hard to get, you know, any kind of home-cooked food."