1 in 4 people in Los Angeles County are food insecure (see USC Dornslife), many literally unsure where their next meal is coming from.
Even before COVID-19, Los Angeles County had the highest number of food insecure people in the nation. As Covid-19 took hold, the number rapidly increased –a stark reminder of how many people were teetering on the edge of a major crisis. Then, just when many families were starting to recover –skyrocketing inflation caused the highest increase in food prices in 41 years! The need for food assistance skyrocketed along with it.
COVID-related supply and labor issues are still wreaking havoc in the food industry. Inflation will continue to fuel the rising food prices, which means that everything from growing to transporting to purchasing food is and will get even more expensive, not less.
Hunger has a devastating effect on the mental and physical health of people of all age groups. It increases the risk of developing health problems like diabetes and hypertension and exacerbates existing chronic conditions.
During childhood, food insecurity is associated with delayed development, inability to concentrate in school, diminished academic performance, anxiety and depression, and obesity. Children who have experienced hunger are the most likely to repeat a grade in elementary school, experience developmental impairments and have social and behavioral problems. Close to 45% of food distributed by the foodbank goes to children in food-insecure families.
Many seniors have one or more medical conditions and most live on fixed incomes, with relatively small monthly food budgets. The lack of nutritious food leads to unmanaged chronic conditions, a diminished quality of life and reduced ability to live independently. Through our Brown Bag Network for Seniors Program, the Foodbank provides nutritious food to thousands of seniors per year that help meet their dietary needs.