By Nina Aghadjanian
After nine months of COVID-19 and a third wave underway, the need for food assistance has reached unprecedented levels, sending Los Angeles County into the throes of the one of the worst food crises in modern history.
Today, nearly 3 million Angelenos don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is working to meet the heightened demand, having distributed 143 million pounds of food, or 118 million meals, since March — a 145% increase compared to the pre-pandemic period.
“You can just see the worry on people’s faces when they come by; they’re concerned and understandably so,” said Michael Flood, the food bank’s chief executive.
“Given all the uncertainty, they don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week or next month. So it’s been really rewarding to see the appreciation people have for our service.”
A report from the Urban Institute shows that food insecurity was the most commonly reported hardship in the early weeks of the pandemic. The situation has only worsened. To put things into perspective, Flood’s organization provided food to 300,000 people monthly before the pandemic. That number has since tripled.