It’s no secret: fast foods and ready-to-eat products are quick, cheap, and are designed to momentarily satisfy the palate. For a family struggling to make ends meet, the price of fresh, nutritious, and wholesome food is often too expensive. And, for a small subset of these families, getting hold of even any food is a bigger struggle.
The California Association of Food Banks estimates that about 12.5% of Californians do not know where their next meal is coming from. This is about one in every eight people, but it gets worse. The American Dietetic Association reports a link between food insecurity and hunger with obesity, where a parent, when presented with a food option, may be more inclined to choose a high-fat, high-calorie product that is cheaper, as opposed to fresher, healthier options.
All of this is why the Tzu Chi Foundation has committed itself to alleviating the economic and nutrition-related barriers low-income families face in Southern California. We directly offer adults and children a chance to have wholesome, nutritious meals for free via our Tzu Chi Mobile Food Pantry.
We host distributions throughout Los Angeles and the Southern California area to donate food items by our specially designated mobile food pantry. We offer a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as dry goods, like rice, beans, and other pantry items to low-income families.
Since the start of 2018, our mobile food bank has distributed nearly 227,900 lbs. of food to exactly 7,596 low-income households. Over 27,440 individuals have already benefited from the 35 distributions that have taken place since January 14 this year! Learn more about the impact of this program in Tzu Chi Mobile Food Pantry: Paying It Forward.
In connection with our Tzu Chi Mobile Food Pantry program, we partner with local schools in Southern California including Alhambra High School, Indian Springs High School, Miles Avenue Elementary, Juanita Blakely Jones Elementary School, and much more.
At the same time, in our plight for environmental protection, we also encourage all families to bring their own bags and boxes to take home their goods. It feels great to do the world- and the people in it- extra good.
It is our privilege to lift even a small burden off families’ shoulders throughout Southern California. We will continue to do so via our Tzu Chi Mobile Pantry program. You can help by volunteering or contributing to our food relief efforts via the Join Hands Campaign. Together, we can ensure no child in our beautiful state goes hungry again.