Los Angeles Regional Food Bank continues to feed community during COVID-19

Drivers+wait+in+line+as+volunteers+fill+their+cars+with+food.+For+the+safety+of+everyone+drivers+are+not+allowed+to+exit+their+vehicles.+Photo+credit%3A+Eileen+Osuna

Drivers wait in line as volunteers fill their cars with food. For the safety of everyone drivers are not allowed to exit their vehicles. Photo credit: Eileen Osuna

Eileen Osuna, Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, in conjunction with the Falcon’s Nest, provided free boxes of food to Cerritos College students and members of the local community this past Wednesday.

Thirty-two volunteers, consisting of students, staff and faculty members, handed out approximately 50-80 pounds of food per household to those who were waiting in line from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Maria Isai, administrative secretary of student affairs, said “We’ve served 4,000 households since May and about 5,000 individuals.”

She said that there has been an influx of people showing up to the food drive since the mandate to shut down California went into effect.

There are no requirements for eligibility, with recipients asked only for the size of their household to provide an adequate supply of food and keep track of the number of people stopping by.

 

Under normal circumstances, the food distribution is done as a walk-up service, but was changed to a drive-thru distribution to apply safety guidelines for those involved.

Drivers are asked not to exit their vehicles at any time and make space in their trunk before coming to the event so boxes can be easily and quickly placed inside.

Volunteers are emailed a questionnaire and must complete the college COVID-19 safety checklist before the event. They are also provided with gloves, hand sanitizer and must practice social distancing.

Associated Student of Cerritos College President Valery Escobar, who volunteers regularly, says she participated in the event because it’s her duty to the community and the people around her.

“When students are in need you have to have people who are willing to step up and want to help each other out,” Escobar said, “It’s a community effort.”

First-time volunteer Raul Leon, 19, said he showed up because he wanted to help people out, especially those who have lost their job due to the pandemic.

 

In addition to the food drive, case manager Pamela Sepulveda said the Falcon’s Nest will launch virtually this fall semester. The site is designed to help students access basic need services through on-campus and community partnerships.

The college had been working the program prior to the pandemic. Students can get help from the Emergency Aid Fund, Franco’s closet, Franco’s market, and CalFresh, among many other services.

Sepulveda said many students don’t realize they’re eligible to get help from these services. “The Falcon’s Nest and the Falcon basic needs program wants to ensure that no student is without any basic need that could get in the way of their academic success,” she said.

The food drive takes place every fourth Wednesday of the month, with the next event scheduled for September 23rd.

Anyone interested in volunteering can email Isai at [email protected] and for more information on the Falcon’s Nest, students can email [email protected]