The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday voted unanimously to use $5.61 million to fund the FEED LA program, which will provide more than 1 million meals to families in need through the YMCA amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Council President Nury Martinez proposed the program as chair of the council's Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19.
The program will authorize the Housing and Community Investment Department to work with the YMCA to create 16 Community Empowerment Hubs citywide that will provide the contactless grab-and-go meals. FEED LA will also work with nonprofit partners to provide food assistance to homebound seniors, people with disabilities and others, according to Martinez' office.
"Our FEED LA program and Community Empowerment Hubs are a response to the massive health and economic epidemic working Angelenos are struggling to overcome each day during this pandemic, in particular our working-poor families, single-parent and working moms,'' Martinez said. "While jobs are lost, work hours reduced and students not being able to return to school, we need to do all we can to feed families and provide learning hubs for our students."
With low-income Angelenos facing higher rates of unemployment and job instability, more households are struggling to figure out how to secure their next meal, with one in four Angelenos facing food insecurity, Martinez said.
The council president said the program continues her goal of expanding Learning Hubs with in-person assistance during COVID-19 throughout the city to help 10,000 students with their studies and to provide adequate learning infrastructure. It also assists working parents with child care to get through the pandemic.
As part of the program, the YMCA will install secure, content-restricted network nodes at the 16 Community Empowerment Hubs, so they can help school-aged children with additional online learning resources, Martinez said.
"The YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles is honored to have been selected to participate in this program with the city of Los Angeles," said Alan Hostrup, the president and CEO of YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles. "We are thrilled that Council President Martinez and city leadership view us as a trusted partner and believe in our unique position to reach so many Angelenos in diverse communities throughout Los Angeles."
Funding for the program comes from federal Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 funds. FEED LA at the Community Empowerment Hubs is expected to be up and running in January, Martinez said.
The Los Angeles City Council also approved to use nearly $2.3 million from the same funding source to allow the Alternative Learning Centers at 50 parks citywide stay open through the beginning of 2021.
More information on YMCA-LA programs can be found at www.ymcala.org