LOS ANGELES, March 18, 2020 — The American Red Cross Los Angeles Region is proud to announce starting Thursday, March 19, World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters and emergency, has joined the partnership with Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management and Los Angeles Unified School District to distribute meals to children and families.
The Red Cross, the county and other partners are committed to assisting children and families in need of a meal, and no child will be turned away who was affected by school closures due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The addition of World Central Kitchen, which was founded in 2010 by celebrity chef José Andrés, now will allow an upward of 50,000 additional meals a day to be distributed to anyone who is hungry and in need of a meal.
Los Angeles Unified closed schools on March 16 citing concerns regarding the rapid spread of the coronavirus. This has left a gap for the 80 percent of the almost 700,000 students who 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 help 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.”
“Schools are the center of the communities we serve and provide an important part of the social safety net for many families and their children,” said Austin Beutner, Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified. “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 is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 and preparing to carry out our lifesaving mission in the event of any possible disruptions.
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.
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. Visit preparesocal.org to learn more about how you, your family and community can prepare for disasters big and small.
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.
- Have a supply of food staples and household supplies like laundry detergent and bathroom items, and diapers if you have small children.
- Check to make sure you have at least a 30-day supply of your prescription medications, and have other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes and vitamins.
- Know how your local public health agency will share information in your community and stay informed. Find more information here.
- Learn how your children’s school or daycare, and your workplace will handle a possible outbreak. Create a plan in the event of any closings, event cancellations or postponements.
- If you care for older adults or children, plan and prepare for caring for them, should they or you become sick.
- Help family members and neighbors get prepared and share the safety messaging with those who may not have access to it.
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.