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10 Things Sherman Oaks Food Pantries Need Right Now

Patch logo Patch 6/12/2021 Kenan Draughorne
a person holding a sign: Los Angeles County is among places profoundly affected by hunger this year. © Patch News Partner/Shutterstock Los Angeles County is among places profoundly affected by hunger this year.

SHERMAN OAKS, CA — Summer is supposed to be a relaxing time for kids — a time to put away books and enjoy their breaks from school. Yet for 13 million kids, relaxation can be far from their minds, instead replaced by worry as they wonder where they’ll get their next meal.

Those kids are among the 42 million people who may be at risk for chronic hunger in the United States 2021, a number that’s only been exacerbated by the pandemic, according to Feeding America, one of the nation’s largest hunger relief organizations.

Los Angeles County is among places profoundly affected by hunger this year.

Before the pandemic, 1.1 million residents in Los Angeles County were considered food insecure, according to Feeding America. The continuing economic fallout from the health pandemic has swollen that number to 16.7% of residents who are on the brink of hunger.

The struggle intensifies during the summer months. While in school, about 30.4 million kids rely on the National School Lunch program for free and reduced-price meals, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

However, during the summer months, only a fraction of those kids take advantage of traditional summer meal programs offered through schools.

Congress took several steps this year to ensure kids continue to have easy access to food throughout the summer months. In March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the extension of several waivers through Sept. 30. The extension allows all school districts to offer summer meals to all children, regardless of income level, free of charge.

The USDA’s Meals for Kids Site Finder also was established to help children, parents and others quickly and easily find summer meal sites near them.

While summer meal programs are expected to serve close to 54 million meals this year, according to Feeding America, not every family has convenient and easy access to a summer meal site.

This is where food pantries could step up to fill in gaps. This means now is yet another good time to make a donation to our local food pantries.

Wondering what to donate? Here are the 10 items most food pantries, including those in Los Angeles County, need during the summer months:

  1. Peanut butter
  2. Canned soup
  3. Canned fruit
  4. Canned vegetables
  5. Canned stew
  6. Canned fish
  7. Canned beans
  8. Whole-grain pasta
  9. Brown rice
  10. Kid-friendly items like cereal bars, pudding cups or fruit snacks

It’s important to note that a food pantry’s most-needed items don’t tend to change from school to summer months. Most could use these donated items year-round, according to Feeding America.

Food pantries and food banks have experienced a 55 percent spike in usage through the pandemic, according to the latest Feeding America data, erasing a decade’s worth of progress toward ending hunger in the United States.

Here are some food pantries in Los Angeles:

Here are some other resources to consider if you want to give but aren’t sure where to start:

Feeding America serves 200 member food banks that serve and supply 60,000 food pantries, kitchens and meal programs around the country.

FIND FOOD

Find your local food bank

DONATE

Make a donation to Feeding America*

READ

"The Impact of Coronavirus On Food Insecurity"

ACT

Take action against hunger

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