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Los Angeles Unified Provides 100 Million Meals To Students and Families in Need (02-01-21)

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Shannon Haber, 213-393-1289                              February 1, 2021


Los Angeles Unified Provides 100 Million Meals 
To Students and Families in Need


  • Nation’s largest school-based relief effort 
  • Effort has also provided 19 million items of much-needed supplies 
  • Superintendent Austin Beutner Recognizes Hard Work and Dedication Of Employees and Community Partners

LOS ANGELES (February 1, 2021) – Today, Los Angeles Unified reached a sobering milestone in its nation-leading food-relief effort at schools, providing 100 million meals, along with 19 million items of much-needed supplies, to students and families in need. 

“Today we are providing our 100 millionth meal to students and families in the communities we serve,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “It’s impossible to overstate the significance of that milestone. We knew the need would be great and we stepped up to do what we can to help.” 

More than 80% of Los Angeles Unified students come from families living in poverty and the job losses caused by the pandemic has fallen disproportionately on them. 

That’s why, when the crisis began, Los Angeles Unified started a food-relief effort at school sites to provide a nutritious meal to anyone in need – no questions asked. Schools also have provided 19 million items of much-needed supplies including millions of diapers and personal-care items, treats and athletic equipment for children, along with computers and internet access for all students who need them to stay connected with their school community.

Thousands of individuals, businesses and philanthropic organizations have provided money and in-kind donations totaling more than $32 million to LA Students Most in Need, the charitable fund created by Superintendent Austin Beutner to help provide a safety net for the school community. 

“Fortunately, Los Angeles Unified has been joined in this effort by businesses, individuals and philanthropic organizations who understand the need,” Superintendent Beutner said. “This nation-leading effort is a great reminder of what can be accomplished when we all work together to help those who need it most.” 

The 100 million meals provided by Los Angeles Unified is a meal for every person in Germany, plus their neighbors in Switzerland. It’s five years of visitors to Disneyland.

The amount of milk and juice provided are enough to fill the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and the milk cartons, laid end to end, would stretch from Los Angeles to New York City. The fruits and vegetables provided weigh as much as 1,400 elephants. 

“While 100 million meals is a testament to the efforts of thousands of my colleagues who have been working tirelessly in difficult circumstances, it is also a stark reminder that families across Los Angeles are suffering,” said Superintendent Beutner. “Almost a year into the pandemic, our neighbors remain vulnerable. Children and their families worry about where the next bag of groceries will come from. Despite the heroic efforts of Los Angeles Unified, food insecurity remains a real threat to many thousands of our fellow Angelenos.” 

Superintendent Beutner said Los Angeles Unified will continue to provide a safety net for students and families until classrooms are able to reopen. 

“The need continues and so will our efforts until students can return to schools,” he said.

Superintendent Beutner marked the somber milestone during a visit to the Grab & Go Food Center at Garfield High School. There he helped distribute meals and toys to students and families from the East Los Angeles community. 

Los Angeles Unified is providing hundreds of thousands of meals a day without the assistance of the county or any of the 26 cities the school district serves including the city of Los Angeles. State Senator Maria Elena Durazo is among the leaders supporting Los Angeles Unified’s efforts to seek reimbursement from local state and federal governments for the cost of distributing adult meals. 

“The Grab & Go program has been a serious lifeline to so many students and families in need during these very difficult times,” said state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, who represents Central and East Los Angeles. “The 100 million meal milestone represents a truly extraordinary effort by Los Angeles Unified and it’s so important that this program carries on for the duration of this crisis so that no student in Los Angeles goes hungry. It wouldn’t be possible without the hard-working food service workers who are putting these millions of meals together.” 

“When the pandemic began, Los Angeles Unified immediately worked to meet the needs of our students and the broader community by launching our Grab & Go Centers,” Board President Kelly Gonez said. “More than 100 million meals later, that commitment remains as strong as ever. I want to thank the District’s many classified employees who have worked day-in and day-out since March to feed hundreds of thousands of our students and families in need.” 

“Reaching the milestone of serving 100 million meals illustrates the persistent need that exists among District families as the pandemic continues almost one year later,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “We are fortunate to offer the resources in the interim, but hope to work with our colleagues at the municipal, state and federal levels to identify a more sustainable solution to addressing food insecurity issues in the region.” 

“100 million meals served reflects deep and persistent need in our community,” Board Member Mónica García said. “Our families need every level of government to step up and as soon as possible.” 

“100 million meals. 100 million times that many of our children did not go to bed hungry,” Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “100 million opportunities to serve our communities with compassion and respect. 100 million meals lovingly distributed by Los Angeles Unified employees. We are LAUSD.” 

“This milestone is a testament to LA Unified’s commitment to support our students, families and communities through this crisis,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “At the same time, it is a stark reminder of the staggering toll the pandemic continues to take on our most vulnerable populations – and why we need action from our public health officials to get our kids safely back in school as soon as possible.” 

“I am proud of Los Angeles Unified for jumping in immediately to feed our students, their families and all who needed food,” Board Member Jackie Goldberg said. “We have demonstrated our ongoing commitment to the well-being of our students and their communities.” 

“This milestone is a true testament of the hard work and dedication that is displayed every day by our Grab & Go Food Centers,” Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin said. “Thank you to our Food Services, Beyond the Bell and Procurement staff and volunteers for your unwavering commitment to our families and communities. I’m so proud of the enormous efforts we have made and will continue to make to fully support our families and communities through these challenging times.”