No one should experience hunger in our community, but too many children struggle to access basic needs, including nutritious food.
Before the pandemic in February 2020, when the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank was already reaching an impressive 300,000 people each month, the unemployment rate in LA County was around 4.7% and LA County’s poverty rate was 20.8%. As the unemployment rate dipped back below 4.7% in May 2022, many people assumed the need for food assistance would also return to pre-pandemic rates. It has not.
As we approach the final months of 2022, the LA Regional Food Bank and Food Bank partner agencies are still helping an average of 800,000 people each month, well over double the pre-pandemic numbers.
Due to the lingering effects of the pandemic and extra pressure put on budgets by rising costs, even fully employed people, some who have multiple jobs, are seeking food and nutrition assistance for themselves and their families.
Families with young children have more mouths to feed and less time to work. When budgets tighten, families rely more on high-calorie, low-nutrition foods, which are cheaper and easier to access.
For many families, the nutritional value of the food is sacrificed first, but before long, skipping meals altogether becomes inevitable. Parents skip meals to ensure enough is leftover for their children, and when there still isn’t enough, kids skip meals, too.
Fortunately, many people are working hard to fight hunger in our community. Thanks to incredible partnerships, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank alleviates child hunger by providing nutritious food to families at partner agency distributions and through child nutrition programs like the Food Bank’s BackPack and Summer Meal programs.
Remember that even before the various challenges of this decade, there were people who needed a little help. Now, the need in Los Angeles County is even more dramatic. It isn’t possible to know what challenges are ahead, but everyone agrees: No one should go hungry, especially children. Please join the fight against food and nutrition insecurity and invest in your community.