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MEND’s Foodbank has long been a point of entry for a majority of clients. Clients utilizing the food bank include families struggling to make ends meet, and people who are homeless who—because of few options—sometimes rely on foraging from dumpsters to survive. As MEND’s 2019 Humanitarian Award honoree, Dr. LaVonna Blair Lewis put it, “Food is not discretionary.” Equitable access to nutritious food supports a healthy life, and a healthy life supports better overall outcomes.”
In addition to direct services at MEND’s facility in Pacoima, MEND’s Emergency Foodbank distributes food to dozens of community and faith-based organizations who operate food pantries that touch the lives of thousands of people throughout LA County. In 2019, the Foodbank benefited individuals and families through 200,000 encounters. By distributing more than 2.7 million pounds of food, the Foodbank empowered families throughout LA County to consume 2,279,958 healthy meals in 2019.
Pounds of food
|Emergency Food Bank||Target Population|
Direct distribution of food plus a hot meal prepared in our kitchen.
Frequency: Clients may come weekly based on need Service Days: Thursdays, Fridays and alternating Saturdays
|Individuals and families who are homeless, in transition housing, at-risk of homelessness or otherwise vulnerable.|
Distribution to satellite (TFAP) and outreach (general) CBO/FBO partners.
Service Days: Tuesdays - Fridays and alternating Saturdays
|Individuals and families served by partner organizations.|
|Distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables to MEND clients through a “Farmers Market” model. Goal is to give clients more choice and maximize the amount of produce distributed and minimize the amount being recycled. Frequency: Once a week||Individuals and families who are homeless, in transition housing, at-risk of homelessness or otherwise vulnerable.|
To Describe Joe as the human energizer bunny, would be an understatement. Most days, bright and early, you will find Joe at MEND’s Clothing Center drop-off area, helping unload donations, thanking donors, or working at other areas of the building. He is non-stop! Lifting, hauling, hurrying from one assignment to the next, he works like a man making up for lost time.
At the age of 32, Amelia, has known more pain and struggle than anyone deserves over a lifetime. She has lived through cruel abuse, rejection, homelessness, intense physical pain and persistent hunger. From a very young age, Amelia worked alongside her Mom, Elizabeth, selling whatever they could to make ends meet.
MARICELA NEVER IMAGINED herself to be in the situation she is in now. Last September, she lost her husband and her life has not been the same. Fighting back the tears, she shares, “To be honest, the first few months after my husband passed I didn’t feel the pressure. Now I feel anxious all the time. I never imagined I would be a single mother to 3 kids.”
She came to the Family Support Program after she had increased her visits to the Foodbank. In meeting with Rosa and her family, we learned that her husband, the sole provider of the family, had tragically passed away. Rosa felt lost and didn’t know how to support her 3 children. We helped her create a plan to regain control, and she prioritized getting a job to support her family.
She was nervous to start her job search but we showed her the ropes and were there with guidance and encouragement whenever she needed it. Rosa has since found a job, and she loves it! Because of the increased income, Rosa no longer needs to visit the MEND Foodbank. She is especially proud about this. “This is the first time in a long time that my family hasn’t needed the MEND Foodbank,” she says, beaming. We too are proud of her accomplishment.
Overwhelmed when she joined the program. She was anxious, felt alone, and her family was struggling to make ends meet. Despite her anxiety, she trusted our team and shared struggles that she kept hidden from other people in her life. Her first priority was to find a good job. She was very nervous but she enrolled in a caregiver course. Not only was she able to complete the course but she also made friends along the way.
She told us that she was surprised that her new friends admired her dedication and courage because she didn’t see herself that way. With her new certification, Vanessa got a job as a caregiver. Her family is now able to put some money into savings, and is working towards a new long term goal of finding a new home.