In what one official called a giant step toward "eradicating hunger" in Los Angeles, tons of surplus food from city-sponsored events would be donated to the needy each year under a new policy enacted Wednesday by the City Council.
“Today we are taking a historic step in eradicating hunger in the city of Los Angeles,” said Councilman Jose Huizar, adding that he hoped that donating surplus food would become “as common as recycling.”
Among other things, new guidelines would encourage contractors such as caterers serving city events to donate surplus fare to food banks or other assistance groups. Lawmakers are seeking to insert language in all city contracts promoting donations of surplus food.
With the economy continuing to slump, anti-hunger advocates are aggressively pushing to bolster food donations from both the private and public sectors. The need is rising sharply, advocates say, as people facing loss of jobs, homes or other setbacks join the bulging ranks of hungry food-seekers. The unemployment rate in Los Angeles County is 12.5%.
One in six people now receiving emergency food aid in Los Angeles has never received such assistance in the past, according to Councilman Huizar’s office.
Some 5 million tons of consumable food is wasted each year in California, activists say.
The Los Angeles Convention Center already has a robust food-donation effort. The Last year, according to Huizar’s office, the Convention Center shipped 7.24 tons of surplus food to aid groups.
For Los Angeles residents, the city's new site is HelpFeedLA.org. (I donated to my local food bank a few weeks ago.)
Meanwhile, the site Feeding America has a very useful food bank locator for all fifty states.