LA Food Bank distributes record-setting 2.5 million pounds of food to SoCal families

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- During the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans will turn to food banks. Michael Flood, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Food Bank, spoke to ABC7 via Skype to explain how you can help, as well as information on what to do if you need support.

Tell us what the L.A. Food Bank is doing as a crucial partner in this campaign?

"Bringing in and getting a tremendous amount of food out, fresh produce, frozen product. In this time, shelf stable items are really important. You know, we're only at Thursday in this week and setting another record - in terms of food distribution by the end of this week we will be at 2.5 million pounds. That's the equivalent of more than 2 million meals going out through to our agency network and directly to people through other distributions. So, we're definitely feeling this huge impact. I saw the unemployment numbers earlier in the broadcast and we're definitely feeling it," Flood said.

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Millions of kids are not getting their free and reduced school lunches because of the closures, what is the L.A. Food Bank doing to try to meet this demand?

"Sure, so the bulk of our food goes to agency partners, food pantries and other organizations doing great work throughout Los Angeles County, but we're having to augment that just because of this huge demand. You mentioned school districts. We're augmenting those distributions as grab-and-go meal distributions, right now in Inglewood and with LAUSD. We're also delivering in partnership with seniors through that program, so that's ramping up quickly. And then the other thing were doing are these large drive-through distributions that I think you've probably seen some of the footage on. Just yesterday we were in Burbank at the union for folks working in the studios, movies, theatrical and alike. We had 840 families come through in a drive-through fashion in about three hours. So, that just gives you the sense of how many people and families this it's impacting and those drive-throughs that are moving around the county help take some pressure off our agencies that are definitely feeling the effects right now," Flood said.

What should people do if they want to help or if they need help getting food?

"So there's a lot of information at lafoodbank.org. There's also volunteer information. Volunteers - this is an essential service - so volunteers that are healthy can volunteer. That help is needed. There's a 'find food' tab to find local food pantries in your community and then there are other ways to support us, you know, financially. We've had a great support. Thank you to the ABC7 team for stepping up very early. We much appreciate that and that type of support is helping us sort of stretch our ability to get more food out throughout Los Angeles County," Flood said.

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