Controller Spotlights Growing Food Insecurity in L.A., Urges Action to Help Families in Need
LOS ANGELES — To mark World Food Day (Oct. 16) — an international day dedicated to raising awareness about issues of poverty and hunger — L.A. Controller Ron Galperin released an online story map analyzing food insecurity in Los Angeles County and calling for urgent solutions to the growing crisis. “Hunger for Solutions to Food Insecurity” maps poverty, income and unemployment levels across Los Angeles, along with ease of access to grocery stores — using socioeconomic data to illustrate visually where people are most at risk of being food insecure. The story map also details the dramatic negative impact COVID-19 has had on local area hunger.
“It is unacceptable for any child in Los Angeles to go to bed hungry and for families to lack easy access to quality, healthy food,” said Controller Galperin. “There are resources available to help people in need find free and low-cost meals, but policymakers must use data to create meaningful programs that address the root causes of food insecurity now and in the years to come. We need more thoughtful, comprehensive and collaborative solutions from the City and County to truly address this public health crisis.”
Low-income women of color most impacted
Food insecurity has been a significant problem in Los Angeles for years, but during the pandemic things got markedly worse for vulnerable residents. Food banks reported serving 10 times more working and low-income families and nearly one million L.A. County households reported being food insecure. Galperin pointed out that the most impacted residents were unemployed individuals and single parents, many of them Latinx women and other people of color. Now, 19 months into the pandemic, food insecurity remains higher than pre-COVID levels, making it an urgent public health matter.
Resources for people in need
To connect people in need to resources they can use, Galperin’s food insecurity map also includes a statewide map of 1,800 food banks and distribution centers. Users can hover over a particular county or city or search by address to find a location near them. Also included are links to resources for government aid programs, food delivery programs, community fridges and groups focused on providing food assistance for specific segments of the population, including seniors and undocumented immigrants.
Collective effort required
“L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin’s new story map stunningly details the persistent and pervasive crisis of food insecurity in Los Angeles,” said Abby J. Leibman, President and CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. “As a national Jewish anti-hunger organization headquartered in Los Angeles for over 36 years, we at MAZON are moved and inspired by Mr. Galperin’s leadership in acknowledging, understanding and addressing the hunger crisis in our community. This invaluable resource connects those in need with emergency services, while also providing information about organizations like MAZON working to end hunger through vitally needed policy change. COVID-19 has clearly shined a spotlight on the gaping holes in our nation’s — and our city’s — safety net, and this moment requires thoughtful, urgent and compassionate leadership at all levels of government.”
“While life is beginning to look more normal for some, many people in our community are still working to recover from the pandemic and related economic fallout,” said President and CEO of the LA Regional Food Bank, Michael Flood. “Even before the pandemic, the need in our community was high, but by working together, we can dramatically alleviate food insecurity in LA County.”
Explore “Hunger for Solutions to Food Insecurity” at lacontroller.org/food-insecurity.
See all of Galperin’s maps at lacontroller.org/data-stories-and-maps/.