41.9 million Americans live in food-insecure homes according to dosomething.org, and one in six Americans face hunger every day. The website defines “food insecure” as a person not knowing where or when they’ll find their next meal. In Los Angeles, approximately 1.4 million people live with food insecurity — about 16% of the population — according to the L.A. food bank.
This holiday season, Poets have a chance to help by donating to the annual Holiday Food Drive organized by the Leadership Experiences and Programming (LEAP) Office and the Organisation Mondiale pour l’Education Préscolaire (OMEP, the World Organisation for Early Childhood Education and Care).
There are two collection locations: the LEAP Office and Broadoaks Children’s School. The LEAP Office will be accepting donations until Dec. 14, and Broadoaks until Dec. 13. The drive is asking for a wide variety of donation items such as canned meats, pasta, pasta sauce, canned fruits/vegetables, chicken or beef broth, jell-o, pudding, cake mix, flour, condiments, cereal, and oatmeal.
The food collected will be donated to the Interfaith Food Center (IFC) in Santa Fe Springs. IFC was founded in 1983 and serves 1,300 households, according to the organization’s website. “The mission of the Interfaith Food Center is to alleviate hunger and food insecurity by providing compassionate supplemental food services to the hungry, disadvantaged, disabled, and homeless population of the City and unincorporated areas of Whittier, the City of La Mirada and most recently, IFC has expanded its services to Santa Fe Springs,” IFC says on their website.
The organization also promotes securing balanced nutritious meals to help promote healthy eating habits for low-income and homeless individuals. They have a goal of maintaining positive relationships with their current donors and recruiting new donors.
Whittier is pleased to be a part of the efforts for ending hunger in the local community. “So far, we have a full box of various canned food items and are looking forward to everyone donating more so we can fill up all of our boxes,” said Assistant Director of the LEAP Office Xiaopan Xue.
Xue encourages students to donate to food banks year-round. “I would encourage community members to donate every month or every two months so that we can not only give back to the community, but give others the opportunity to nourish their bodies,” said Xue. “I would challenge community members who have the privilege of eating every day to give gratitude for that privilege and also consider donating canned food items so others could enjoy a meal.”