LOS ANGELES, March 16, 2020 — The American Red Cross Los Angeles Region in partnership with the LA County Office of Emergency Management will support the Los Angeles Unified School District at their meal distribution centers, which are set to open Wednesday, March 18. Several food centers in the communities served will be set up from 7 – 10 a.m. for families and children to pick up boxed meals.
The Red Cross, the county and other partners are committed to assisting children and families in need of a meal. No child will be turned away. Red Cross volunteers also will provide disaster preparedness information for families at each site.
Last week, Los Angeles Unified announced they will close schools starting today, Monday, March 16, for at least 14 days (until the end of the month), citing concerns regarding the rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Los Angeles Unified enrolls about more than half a million students in kindergarten through 12th grade; 80 percent of whom rely on free or reduced-price lunches.
“The Red Cross is here to help during times of need, and here in LA, there is need: School cancellations are visiting hardship and hunger on many students,” said Jarrett Barrios, CEO for the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. “We are so pleased to staff these food distribution sites with Red Cross volunteers and call on Angelenos to join us by signing up to volunteer to help feed our schoolchildren.”
SEE: To sign up to volunteer at a Los Angeles Unified meal distribution center, please visit: redcross.org/la-covid
The health and well-being of all parties involved is of the utmost concern, and the Red Cross and Los Angeles Unified will be taking many precautions to make sure their safety has been taken into consideration. Los Angeles Unified will have thermometers to monitor student and employee health, and everyone will be asked to wash their hands upon arrival.
Red Cross volunteers will also practice social distancing, wear gloves and maintain a 6-foot distance at the meal distribution sites. We are using the same guidance required by the Department of Public Health and the CDC.
We know this is a stressful time and people want to know what they can do right now to protect themselves and their families. That’s why the Red Cross is highlighting some everyday health and preparedness steps that Angelenos can take now.
There are also special recommendations for people who may be at a higher risk which you can find below.
LIMIT THE SPREAD OF GERMS AND PREVENT INFECTION
The Red Cross recommends following common sense steps to help prevent the spread of any respiratory virus.
GET YOUR HOUSEHOLD READY
There are things you can do right now to be ready for any emergency, and many of these same tips will help you prepare as the coronavirus situation continues to evolve in the U.S.
According to the CDC, patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Call your doctor if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms.
WHO IS AT A HIGHER RISK?
COVID-19 is a new disease, which means scientists and public health experts are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes and to what extent it may spread in the U.S.
Early information shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this virus. This includes older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.
During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible. Full information for those at a higher risk is available here.
For the latest information, please visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/covid19.
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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossLA or @CruzRojaLA.