LA Regional Food Bank provides vital service for struggling families

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Thousands of families in Los Angeles struggle to put enough food on the table. One local food bank is providing a vital service to those who don't have enough.

These days when people talk about food, it's usually about fancy dishes or trendy food trucks. But when it comes to really important food, food banks are making the biggest difference.

"We reach about 300,000 people each month with the food that flows through our facilities here," said Michael Flood, the CEO of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is a sprawling operation just south of downtown L.A., where donated food from manufacturers, retailers and community food drives is packed up and distributed to local agencies all across L.A County.

And we're talking about a lot of food.

"Last year, we distributed more than 67 million pounds of food. That's equivalent of about $75 million worth of food," Flood said.

For the agencies that pass this food onto families in need, the L.A. Regional Food Bank is a vital lifeline. The agencies' service is wholly reliant on the food in these warehouses and the people who work here.

"If it wasn't for the Los Angeles Regional Food bank, that's 95 percent of what we give away food-wise comes from here," said James DePaola with Family Church in Whittier.

Folks at the food bank are celebrating it's 45th anniversary this year. During that span, they've seen both good and bad economic times. Right now, our economy is booming, but food bank officials say they haven't seen the need for food drop much at all.

"When we ask people, we're finding housing coming up over and over and over again. Even though more people are working, which is great, a high percentage of their income is going to apartment rent, or some type of housing," Flood said.

This is the reason the food bank keeps churning along - 45 years strong. A future without this place would be hard to stomach.

"There would be a lot of hungry people out there," said Tommy Johnson with the First African Methodist Episcopal Church.
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