LA Food Bank

I’m so excited to announce that the Food Photography Club will be donating to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

 

Meals Donated As Of July 31st, 2018 From Your Membership

We helped the LA Food Bank donate 8220 meals in 2017!

5% of every membership will be donated to the food bank.  Every month I will update this page with a running total of how many meals we have been able to provide to families in need.

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

OK, so what’s up with the huge warehouse image? That is just one of the four warehouse spaces that the LA Regional Food Bank has to store, sort, glean and distribute their food from in LA county.

The question they always get is, “How can $1 create four meals?” That was the first thing I asked my contact there as well. You see, the Food Bank is actually a huge distribution center. They only buy a small fraction of the food. Most of the food you see in that huge warehouse image above, was donated – pallets and pallets of it, 1000’s of pounds of food. It’s incredible. They have the largest refrigeration rooms I’ve ever seen along with the largest freezer rooms I’ve ever seen. Just think of the logistics in receiving, sorting, storing, then distributing all that food!

Here’s a video where the President and CEO, Michael Flood explains how this works – it’s pretty awesome:

As mentioned in the video, a crucial part of the process are all the agency partners that work with the Food Bank. So what is an “agency partner”?  They are:

food pantries and other food distribution sites    churches    ministries    rescue missions    health centers    hospitals    retirement homes    community centers    treatment centers    homeless shelters    various charitable organizations    missions    soup kitchens    assisted living facilities    learning centers    schools and colleges    community outreach programs    boys and girls clubs    child care facilities    various other organizations and non-profits

60% of these agencies are faith-based organizations. Many of these agencies also use many volunteers, some are actually 100% volunteer operated. This network is massive and they distribute almost 70% of the food that the Food Bank gets. If the LA Food Bank is too far from you, you can always volunteer at any of their agency partners.

Food for 55 million meals distributed in 2016

More than 30,000 volunteers just last year at the Food Bank

The Food Bank works with a network of more than 625 partner agencies

12 million pounds of produce distributed annually

$1 provides food for four meals

300,000+ people are served monthly

24% in need are under 18 years old

The Food Bank educates those in need about the importance of healthy nutrition

Interested in supporting the Food Bank?  Awesome! Wanna volunteer, click below for more info. If you can’t volunteer, no worries! You can easily make a donation on their website.  Just click the button below. They are a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization so you can write off your donation.

What It’s Like To Volunteer At The LA Regional Food Bank

The way the Food Bank pulls all this off is with volunteers, lots of them!  There is one awesome woman in charge of all the volunteering events.  Here name is Ana Martinez. As you’d except Ana and everyone working at the Food Bank are just the sweetest people.

I had the please of volunteering with them at a special event where they had several large groups coming together to volunteer. This is one very well oiled machine. There were over 120 people volunteering this day. This was a major production that went very smoothly. I was extremely impressed.

There are many different types of volunteering events and different ways to volunteer so for more details on that that check out this page.

This event was associated with Food From The Bar. A four week effort where the legal community organizes several different days to volunteer. On this particular Saturday at the Food Bank, there were plenty of folks welcoming you in the parking lot as soon as you arrive and explaining where to go. Everyone is directed to the large staging room where you check in, get your name badge with a special number on it. Because this event is so large, once we’re settled in, the President, Michael Flood, gives us a warm thank you welcome and shows us a video of what the Food Bank is all about.

Volunteering at the LA Food Bank

Next we are put into our groups organized by the number on our name badge.  Each group is taken downstairs and into the main warehouse facilities where we are set up at our work stations. We are given a little demo on how to sort or clean what we will be working on.

I took pictures for a few hours, then I jumped in an started sorting oranges, 100’s of them that came from a large grocery store chain. There were at least 50 pallets of apples, oranges, and tangerines. We bagged 8 good oranges into grocery sacks. These could now be distributed in their Backpack program, a program that makes sure that the students who rely on school meals don’t go without on the weekends.

You can also go on a little tour of the facilities, which I highly suggest you do as it gives you the sense of how huge an operation this is.

In the Gleaning Room, there was a group of volunteers shucking fresh corn. There was another huge section with pallets of baked goods that needed to be sorted by their expiration date.

I was very happy to see so much organic food there and they even had a little bit of pet food that they help out animal shelters with.

So here’s how it goes:

  1. Food comes in via large trucks from farmers, grocery stores, retailers, food manufacturers, the USDA, just to name a few.
  2. The food gets weighed and then entered into their computer system so that they know what food came in when and when it is set to expire.
  3. The food gets sorted and prepped to get donated by volunteers.
  4. Over 625 agencies place their orders for the food, then come to the Food Bank, pick it up, then take the food to their distribution channels and food pantries.
  5. The Food Bank deliveries food to several locations as well using their own fleet of trucks.

If you are in the LA area, the Food Bank needs volunteers and donations. They can’t do this without you.

The LA Regional Food Bank Programs

Extra Helpings Program

This program routes food from local sources directly to partner agencies

Fresh Produce Programs

There are several programs designed to distribute fresh produce quickly

Mobile Food Pantry

There are eight Mobile Food Pantry distributions monthly

Children's Nutrition Programs

There are several programs to educate children about nutrition & get food to those in need

Senior Nutrition Programs

Providing monthly food kits to 26,000+ seniors

CalFresh Outreach

Assisting families with the CalFresh (formerly Food Stamps Program) application process

Nutrition Education

Teaching people about healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices

Emergency Food Assistance Program

Providing bags of food to families who qualify based based on USDA income guidelines

Interested in supporting the Food Bank?  Awesome! Wanna volunteer, click below for more info. If you can’t volunteer, no worries! You can easily make a donation on their website.  Just click the button below. They are a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization so you can write off your donation.