Hundreds of cars snaked through the Castaic Lake Recreation Area parking lot Thursday, as they waited to receive boxes full of food during another free drive-thru food-distribution event hosted by L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office.
“While our communities work toward recovery, there are still many people in need,” Barger said. “I’m proud that Los Angeles County has offered more than 100 grocery giveaway events countywide since the pandemic began, which includes serving thousands of residents in the Santa Clarita Valley.”
Barger’s office has partnered with the L.A. Regional Food Bank through the COVID-19 pandemic for these distributions, of which hundreds have been done countywide.
“We started almost a year ago doing these emergency food distributions, and we do several every week,” said Amy Hasquet, director of annual giving at the food bank, adding that they also partner with more than 700 organizations countywide to ensure meals are going to those in need.
Boxes filled with shelf-stable items, protein, dairy and fresh produce, totaling around 50 pounds of food, were placed in trunks, with enough available to feed approximately 1,500 families.
“The idea is to give people enough food to feed a family of four for about a week,” Hasquet added.
Whether volunteers or people receiving donations, smiles could be seen throughout.
“Everybody is so happy,” Hasquet said. “It’s definitely a feel-good experience.”
While public health restrictions have been eased in recent weeks, meaning some can return to work, the food bank’s distribution has remained high.
“We’re still distributing 125% more food than pre-pandemic,” Hasquet said. “The economic conditions, especially here in L.A. County, have not returned to normal, so we’re going to continue to do what we can to reach as many people as possible.”
For Val Verde resident Anna Ybarra, while she said it’s been a difficult year, it was her first time visiting a free food distribution.
“I thought I could do it on my own,” Ybarra said, “but when I heard about this event, I knew it was time I come.”
Ybarra has been out of work since last year, when she was laid off due to the pandemic.
“I didn’t know how I was going to both feed my kids this week and pay my rent, so I’m extremely grateful for these meals,” she added.
For additional food resources, including those with walk-up food distribution sites, visit covid19.lacounty.gov/food or call 211.