Updated: Sep 19
Long Beach, California – In a grand opening event, city officials will welcome all residents in need to receive free nutritious groceries at the 9th District Grocery Grab N Go outside of McKinley Elementary School on Friday, September 22nd, from 2 PM to 3 PM. This ribbon-cutting ceremony coincides with the Nutrition Knights 3rd Annual Healthy Habits event and includes Montserrat Pineda, Community Engagement Deputy Officer of Mayor Rex Richardson, Andy Cantero, 9th District Long Beach, Legislative Assistant, Lieling Hwang – Long Beach Unified School District Nutrition Services Director, Marisa Semense, Executive Director of Long Beach Community Action Partnership, Dulnari Edirisinghe-Aga, McKinley Elementary School Principal, and Nutrition Knight Grocery Grab N Go Mascot. It marks the 7th Nutrition Knights Grocery Grab N Go school location in Long Beach run by local non-profit Help Me Help You (HMHY). Residents can also receive free school supplies, sweet treats, entertainment, meet the Nutrition Knight as well as access free enrollment assistance for essential community services. Exhibitors at the event will include SCAN Health Plan, Head Start, and Long Beach Library.
Although Long Beach is one of the wealthiest counties, in one of the wealthiest nations, 16.2% of the Long Beach population lives below the poverty line, which is higher than the national average of 12.8%(datausa.io). Furthermore, according to the Bureau of Statistics, approximately 32.8% percent of children under 5 and 33% of kids 5-17 live in poverty. To fight the growing levels of hunger, HMHY operates 11 free Grocery Grab N Go services (school and community locations), as well as Long Beach Food Pantry Delivery for seniors and persons with disabilities. The 9th District Long Beach Grocery Grab N Go operates every second and fourth Friday of every month, at 6822 Paramount Blvd, Long Beach CA 90805.
“As someone who used a food bank as a student, I know how vitally important these resources are for students to have everything they need. Having access to healthy foods helps to provide the best learning environment when our children and families are not worried about where their next meal comes from. Thank you to all the entities who made this possible”, said Dr. Joni Ricks Oldie, 9th District Long Beach Councilmember.
HMHY prioritizes its Nutrition Knights locations to service areas with the greatest need. Approximately 91.6% of McKinley Elementary School students are on free and reduced lunch assistance, which is significantly higher than the state average of 60.7%. These students are at greater risk of food insecurity which can lead to ill health, disease, developmental and emotional challenges as well as poor educational outcomes. McKinley Elementary School’s commitment to improving the lives of its students and community as well as the need for free food services in the 9th District makes it an ideal partnership to tackle the areas with a food insecurity crisis.
“We are grateful to have the Grab n’ Go pantry onsite at McKinley Elementary. Many of our families and the community appreciate the generosity and support this service provides. With rising costs of food, the pantry plays a significant role in meeting the needs of the community and is a valuable resource for many. The additional grocery support provided by Grab n’ Go eases the financial burden on our families and the community. We are excited to continue the partnership with Help You Help Me and look forward to watching the program grow”, said Ms. Dulnari Edirisinghe-Aga, Principal.
For information on Help Me Help You Grocery Grab N Go locations visit www.helpmehelpu.org/ggng.