Tag Archives: food insecurity

Banking on Food

More than 1.5 million Los Angeles residents are suffering from food insecurities. Many of those residents cannot afford to buy food for themselves and their families.

Los Angeles County has one of the largest food insecure populations in the United States. Food insecurity affects not only those who are living below the poverty line. Even families who live above the poverty line deal with the expense of groceries. Hunger can cause people to lose their balance, not function appropriately and effectively, and experience emotional, physical and mental problems.

“Food is an important thing,” M.E.N.D (Meet Each Need with Dignity) Food Bank Director Richard Weinroth said. “[It’s] more than just dinner. When there is no food, life is a struggle. Food is a powerful thing.”

Hunger may threaten nearly 50 percent of college students, and many students report food insecurities. Hunger is a major problem at both two-year and four-year institutions. Nearly 60 percent of food insecure students reported having a job, and almost 40 percent of those students report that they work more than 20 hours or more per week. Researchers from the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness found that being enrolled in an on-campus meal plan does not eliminate food insecurity.

“You cannot be a successful student if you are hungry,” said Professor Shira Brown, Director of CSUN’s Women’s Research and Resource Center. “It’s really hard to concentrate on doing just about anything when you’re hungry.”

The WRRC’s Food Pantry is open to all students with an ID, and offers food, as well as basic necessities like shampoo and toothpaste. CSUN students also have access to the CSUN Food Pantry at no cost. And food pantries operate in many locations throughout the San Fernando Valley.  Los Angeles County has almost 200 food pantries: the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, World Harvest Food Bank, L.A Works and many more.

“Everybody at some point may need a food pantry,” said Manny Flores, the Community Liaison of North Valley Caring Services. “And in our neighborhood, it could be mostly at the end of the month, when people need to make ends meets. That’s when you see our pantry lines grow substantially. Through our pantry, you can get a well balanced meal. We’re putting about a hundred dollars of food in our baskets every week per household.”

“I’m really lucky,” Weinroth said. “M.E.N.D has been around for nearly 50 years, so we’ve got a lot of neighborhood recognition. We are a volunteer-driven organization. We have so many pans, and so many pots. We have medical, dental and vision. We have education and training on-site as well. We have the food department, we have homeless services, we have our clothing center. We have been collaborating with so many organizations throughout the community for a very long time. We help feed over 20,000 people a month. We all come together as a community, [because] it takes a village.”

Moderator: Trevor Edwards

Producer: Dana Lites

Anchor: Char’Tre Steward

Social Media Editors: Cynthia Marin and Noemi Salcedo

Reporters: Trevor Edwards, Dana Lites, Cynthia Marin, Noemi Salcedo, Char’Tre Steward and Flor Tolentino

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