A pop-up food pantry in Southern California drew so many people on Thursday that the line of cars of people clamoring for groceries spanned a mile, as organizers, who were equipped to provide food to 2,500 families, distributed the goods.
Hundreds of people showed up to gather goods from a pop-up food pantry in Southern California resulting in a “blocks-long queue in Van Nuys, in the central San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles,” Reuters reported.
Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez, alongside Los Angeles Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Labor Community Services, coordinated the event, and the LA Regional Food Bank provided the goods — including rice, frozen chicken, and lentils — which they distributed outside of Van Nuys City Hall.
The pop-up pantry, which came as millions across the nation continue to face economic hardships caused by the coronavirus, was available to anyone in need.
“This food saves me money because my little income goes to my rent,” said Daniel Jimenez, an independent contractor for golf tournaments, according to Reuters.
He added that he has not worked in three weeks and still does not know when he will be able to go back to work.
I haven’t been working for three weeks,” he said. “I have a little money saved but I’m paying rent, gas, and cellphone bills. I don’t even know when we’re going back to work.”
“I have six kids and it’s difficult to eat. My husband was working in construction but now we can’t pay the rent,” another recipient, Juana Gomez, said.
LA Regional Food Bank President Michael Flood said they are holding these types of pop-up events, one or two a day, throughout Los Angeles County.
“For a lot of people, they are new to the situation of needing help and not knowing where to turn,” Flood said, adding that it may take time for them to receive relief from the government. They hope to bridge the gap.
“We want to do what we can to get food in the hands of families, just so they can eat,” he said.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the LA Regional Food bank has experienced a “49% increase in food distributed for each of the last two weeks compared with last year” and set a food distribution record in March.
The news comes as the economy remains at a virtual standstill, with the majority of the country functioning under a stay-at-home order, varying from locality to locality and state to state. Roughly 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the last three weeks as President Trump begins to shift his focus to the grand reopening of the economy. Reports indicate that Trump is eyeing May 1. Conservative leaders are urging Trump to form a second coronavirus task force with a “different” mission, focusing on the planning and preparation for the relaunching of the American economy.