An Update on March 19, 2020
It’s hard to wrap our heads around how quickly our daily lives are changing. It’s even more difficult to know where we will be tomorrow, next week, or in a month. Like everyone, all of us at Food Forward have been taking things day-by-day to respond to the impact novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has on us as individuals, as an organization, and as a community.
The majority of our staff in Los Angeles and Ventura began working remotely late last week. At the Produce Pit Stop, our staff is maintaining its massive recovery efforts from the Wholesale Produce Market with increased cleaning and hygiene protocol in place. As of today, we made the decision to suspend community volunteer events for the time being. We will keep you posted regularly, as we know so many of you want to help. To mitigate lapses in service, our Farmers Market Recovery and Backyard Harvest teams are diverting as many hunger relief agencies as possible to pick up from the Produce Pit Stop–where large loads of fruits and vegetables are available.
As the landscape of need shifts under our feet, we are getting creative with our partners to establish distribution hubs to serve community members and local hunger relief agencies. After our long-time partner A Place Called Home had to temporarily suspend most services for South Los Angeles families, we were able to supply them with assorted produce to create 200 grocery bags for their newly established bi-weekly Family Resource Depot. Yesterday, in Watts, our team worked with staff at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee to ensure that our regular Produce Pick-Up could still happen. 12,000 pounds of strawberries, jicama, squash, oranges, spinach, Brussels sprouts, and onions were given out to local agencies and to the public in bags via a drive-through model.
A Place Called Home distributes grocery bags with produce recovered by Food Forward
The sad truth is that the most vulnerable amongst us will be impacted most by this health crisis, but many more people may be facing food insecurity due to financial upheaval. To continue to provide emergency food relief during this critical time, we must be innovative, adaptable, and compassionate. We hope you will stand next to us–in spirit–to make this possible.
Amongst all of the uncertainty, we have been heartened by the outpouring of support we are receiving from people who want to help. At this time, the best way to support our work is by making a donation to help us adapt our programs to the shifting need. After canceling our annual fundraiser, the Spring Melt, an anonymous donor stepped up to MATCH every dollar we raise from now until April 4, up to $50,000. While we won’t be toasting in-person, we invite you to take a break and Melt-at-Home with us to strengthen our fight against hunger and food waste.
Since the beginning, Food Forward has been committed to our simple mission of sharing abundance with those who need it most. While how we do that may look different over the coming weeks and even months, we will live by our mission to spread generosity. We encourage you to do the same, so we can get through these challenges more resilient than ever.
We hope to see you up a tree soon.
From all of us at Food Forward