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LA Regional Food Bank

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In the central part of L.A., not so far from Long Beach, on a street with industrial buildings, a few homeless folks and razor-wire topped fences, sits the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. The food bank is a large brown building filled with boxes, crates, bags, pallets, tables of food and loading docks. The vision of the food bank is that no one in Los Angeles County goes hungry. Long Beach is part of L.A. County and the food bank feeds our fellow citizens through various agencies such as missions, school programs, shelters and senior centers.

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On February 15th, 9 of us got together to spend a Saturday morning at the food bank. We watched a video about the bank and we were divided into groups: sorters and packers. Our little group, which we dubbed “Create Kindness Daily”, was a sorter group.

Over the next three hours we sorted thousands of non-perishable food items, including Christmas cookies from Target, sodas, canned meat, flour, cake mix, candy bars, croutons from Trader Joe’s, seasonal candy, flavored coffee creamer, salad dressings and too many odd items to list, including a DVR player. Yes, there was a DVR player in one of the food boxes. Who eats DVR players? Stores donate outdated or open items.

We checked each item to be sure it had a label, nutritional information and an expiration date. If it didn’t have all of those it went on to a conveyer belt designated for rubbish. Those that had them could go on the “to be packed” conveyer belt. After we checked that expiration date – mayonnaise was good up to 2 months past the expiration, snacks 6 months, candy forever, etc.

There is usually an announcement at the end of the shift as to how many people we have fed, but we didn’t get that information. Maybe it’s just for the packing room. It didn’t matter, it was a great way to spend a Saturday morning, helping those who live in our midst and are hungry, while spending time with friends. We all left with smiles on our faces, talking about when we should do it again.

If you would like to donate money or work a shift at the bank, go to www.lafoodbank.org. For every $1 donated they can distribute enough food for 4 meals.

Here was our happy group at the end of the shift.

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