Image of a long line of cars waiting to receive food from the food bank

Even as California reopens businesses and more people go back to work, the economic effects of COVID-19 continue to put a strain on families in the Golden State and across the country. Los Angeles County is home to more than 10 million people, and both the city and county have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. To help alleviate stress in the region, the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation donated $100,000 to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. We spoke with its president and CEO, Michael Flood, to learn how the food bank is adapting and leveraging tremendous support from its partners and community.

How has the current COVID-19 crisis affected your operations and clients? 

Food distribution has soared 70%, and the need in LA County has unfortunately skyrocketed. Our agency network is reporting dramatic increases in their distributions, and the Food Bank has created many special COVID-19 relief distributions by partnering with local authorities, LA County and local organizations such as the LA Federation of Labor. Each of these distributions helps between 750 and 7,500 families.

What changes have you had to make as a result of the pandemic and mandatory social distancing? 

After seeing an initial decrease in volunteer participation, we have seen many volunteers return, enthusiastic about helping their communities. We have implemented social distancing and PPE to our volunteer and distribution events, as well as around the Food Bank’s offices. Fortunately, food donations are up 30%, but the food is still going out faster than it is coming in, so the Food Bank has needed to purchase food to supplement what is being donated.

What advice do you have for other nonprofits struggling with the same challenges?

Lean on the strength of your incredible partners and supporters.

We have been amazed and overjoyed by the generosity of our community. While food distribution numbers are up, so are financial commitments made by local companies, individuals, groups and many others.

What do you most urgently need in terms of support, and how can people help?

The best – and safest – way to support the Food Bank at this time is to visit LAFoodBank.org/donate, where people can give financial contributions, vehicles, securities and food.

Those interested in volunteering can visit LAFoodBank.org/volunteer to find a shift.