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Los Angeles Unified Surpasses 40 Million Mark In Food Relief Effort in Just 15 Weeks (06-30-20)

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Shannon Haber, 213-393-1289                             June 30, 2020


Los Angeles Unified Surpasses 40 Million Mark
In Food Relief Effort in Just 15 Weeks

LOS ANGELES(June 30, 2020) – Los Angeles Unified’s food relief effort, the nation’s largest effort of its kind during the pandemic, reached another milestone today. Los Angeles Unified has served more than 40 million free meals at its 63 Grab & Go Food Centers to students and families in need.

Los Angeles Unified provided 585,353 meals on Tuesday, bringing the total to 40,246,292 meals served since the Grab & Go Food Centers opened on March 18. While the district still does not have a solution from the state, county or city on how reimbursement will occur for the adult meals it served, it has continued to provide meals weekdays to students and families during the summer break – no questions asked.

“The lines of people each day at our food centers are a sobering reminder of the impact the virus is having,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “To put it in context, 40 million is roughly the population for the entire state of California. We are grateful to the American Red Cross Los Angeles, World Central Kitchen and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank for working with us to ensure that we are able to meet this vital need for the communities we serve.”

In addition to providing free meals each weekday at the Grab & Go centers, Los Angeles Unified has also provided books, baby supplies, treats for children and sporting equipment students can use to stay physically active. Individuals, foundations and businesses have contributed more than $12 million in in-kind and cash donations to LA Students Most in Need, the charity founded by Los Angeles Unified to help pay for this relief effort.

“We were honored to work in partnership with Los Angeles Unified to address the food insecurities Angelenos were facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” American Red Cross Los Angeles CEO Jarrett Barrios said. “It’s truly humbling to see what a group of people can accomplish when they work together with their hearts aligned. Thank you to all of the 1,200 Red Crossers who answered the call when our neighbors needed us the most.”

“We are humbled to serve the many students and families in Los Angeles in need of meals during the pandemic,” World Central Kitchen Director of Procurement Jason Collins said. “We are proud to work hand in hand with our partners at Los Angeles Unified, the Red Cross and LA Food Bank to feed and support these communities.”

"The Food Bank is distributing additional food to Los Angeles Unified families at six Grab & Go sites daily, rotating the sites served each day," Los Angeles Regional Food Bank President and CEO Michael Flood said. “We've distributed the equivalent of 2.5 million meals to families as part of our COVID-19 response efforts."   

Board of Education members expressed their continuing support for the food relief effort. 

"As of today we have served over 40 million meals for our students and their families,” Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic said. “We will continue to be a support and resource for our communities through these unprecedented times."

“Feeding the hungry is critical during this time,” Board Vice President Jackie Goldberg said. “We are so grateful to everyone – our employees and community partners – who have supported this incredible effort.”

“The routines of our students and families have continued to be disrupted by this global pandemic,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “Our ability to offer meal service is one of the few things that offers a sense of familiarity and security in these uncertain times.”

“Thank you to all of our staff and volunteers who make this possible for our students and families,” Board Member Mónica García said. “Our students and families need the resources now more than ever. We are committed to continue serving our community during this time and beyond to support learning, growth and achievement. Despite valiant and generous efforts, our community still faces tremendous economic hardship. Join us in filling out the census and registering to vote to stay civically engaged!”

"Once again, Los Angeles Unified has demonstrated that our public schools are the heart of our communities,” Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “Over the last three months I have witnessed the gratitude of our Board District 3 families as they pick up their meals at the Grab & Go Food Centers. Because of the hard work of our staff and the support of our community partners, we have now served over 40 million meals. Thanks to everyone who made this possible."

“We are proud to be running one of the nation’s largest food banks to help our students, families, and communities through this crisis,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “The past months have presented unique challenges in LA Unified and beyond, but I am proud of this ongoing effort and grateful for the essential employees, volunteers, and partners who have all helped make this operation possible.”

“Our Grab & Go Food Centers are open,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “We have distributed 40 million meals since the coronavirus crisis began, and this milestone highlights the need in our communities and renews our commitment to serving students and families.”