While the United States is dependent on California for producing almost 50% of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, food insecurity is a prevalent issue for vulnerable populations who reside in the state. 1 in 5 Californians or approximately 8 million people lack access to nutritionally adequate food necessary to live a healthy life on an ongoing basis. Inadequate meals extend beyond proper nutrition, contributing to poor school attendance and alertness for kids, lower productivity in the workplace for adults and mental health issues among various age groups.
This is particularly challenging today as Americans face higher costs for everyday essentials such as food, gas, bills and shelter during inflation. As a result, many parents must decide between paying rent or buying groceries, choosing between meals or medical needs or even skipping meals so that their children can eat, all of which should never have to be a decision that someone has to make.
Although food insecurity has been a major concern for California’s underserved communities for decades, a 2021 study conducted by UCLA found that there was an increase of 22% at the start of and during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the California Association of Food Banks, the state is highly aware of its food scarcity issues and is making strides to assist those in need.
In 2020 alone, California food banks delivered more than 1 billion pounds of food to individuals and families. Last year, California became the only state to offer free school lunches, which took effect this month to be available for the 2022-23 school year and beyond. Another statewide policy now requires colleges and universities to establish a hub on every campus that offers support for basic needs such as housing, food, affordable health care, with some absorbing costs for auto insurance and internet for those who need additional financial support.
As an organization with the mission to uplift, inform and bring communities and families together while offering tools and resources to advocate for yourself and your children, Best Start Communities is proud to join the fight for food security in South Los Angeles. One of our core values is early childhood development. We know that the first five years of a child’s life are the foundational pieces that impact a child’s quality of life for years to come.
To address this critical need, we have partnered with Let’s Be Whole, a peer-operated healthcare solution that provides healthy food education, mindfulness and wellness programs to people who need it the most.
While Let’s Be Whole has a vast amount of holistic resources, we specifically collaborate with them for food distribution events with free groceries recovered from Whole Foods and produce from farmers every Wednesday from 12:30pm-1:30pm in Leimert Park at 4395 Leimert Blvd., L.A. 90008.
Visit here to access more information about Let’s Be Whole’s comprehensive holistic care and sustainable agricultural education, health coaching, in-person and virtual relaxation retreats, community development programming and events.