LOS ANGELES, March 24, 2020 — The American Red Cross Los Angeles Region is proud to announce that after one week of partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District and Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management, more than 1 million meals have been provided to students and families at Los Angeles Unified’s 64 Grab & Go Food Centers. The addition of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters and emergency, has added an upward of 30,000 additional meals a day to be distributed to any Angeleno who is hungry and in need of a meal.
Today, the effort provided 328,310 meals and helped more people than any other food bank in the country.
SEE: Superintendent Austin Beutner’s daily updates of numbers served (Twitter)
ALSO SEE: To volunteer with the Red Cross and Los Angeles Unified (redcross.org/la-covid)
After closing schools due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus, Los Angeles Unified saw a huge need to help the 80 percent of the almost 700,000 students who rely on free or reduced-price lunches.
The commitment to assist students and families in need of a meal is the spark that brought all of these partners together. The Red Cross and Los Angeles Unified want to emphasize that no one at these sites will be turned away who was affected by school closures. We thank World Central Kitchen, which was founded in 2010 by celebrity chef José Andrés, and the Civil Air Patrol for coming on board and generously volunteering.
Every day, hundreds of volunteers report to the sites – located throughout Los Angeles Unified -- to hand out meals to thousands of families. The community was called upon to help, and they have responded in droves, bringing smiles and warmth with every bag that is handed out.
“The Red Cross is here to help during times of need, and here in LA, there is need. We could not walk away from this situation knowing the school cancellations were bringing hardship and hunger on many students,” said Jarrett Barrios, CEO for the Red Cross Los Angeles Region. “We are pleased with the work that has been done, but we are far from the finish line. We still need more volunteers and though the situations seem scary, imagine how scarier it is for the those with food insecurities.”
“Schools are the center of the communities we serve and provide an important part of the social safety net for many students and their families,” said Austin Beutner, Los Angeles Unified Superintendent. “On an ordinary day, we serve more than 1 million meals to children. These are not ordinary days and we must continue to support those most in need.”
The Red Cross and Los Angeles Unified are closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak in LA Country and are maintaining safe and secure food center sites by exercising the Department of Public Health and CDC guidelines.
The Red Cross also strongly urges healthy, eligible individuals to give blood or platelets to help maintain a sufficient, blood supply and prevent shortages. Appointment to donate blood can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Type O and platelet donations are especially needed right now.
Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. There are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus worldwide. The Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation – and who meet other eligibility requirements, available at redcrossblood.org.
For the latest information on how you can help the Red Cross, please visit redcross.org/la-covid.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/la or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossLA.