Long Beach, California – Help Me Help You (HMHY) commences 5th Nutrition Knights school food pantry location at Whittier Elementary School, on Wednesday, July 21st from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM, to feed children and families in need with free nutritious groceries.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, food insecurity persists leaving millions of LA County residents unable to access affordable and nutritious food to feed their families. UCLA researchers found that more than 3 million California adults reported experiencing household food insufficiency, an increase of 22% from the pre-pandemic rate. In LA County, Long Beach has the highest percentage of low-income households experiencing food insecurity. Families are often faced with not having enough to eat, missing meals and, forced to choose between buying food or paying for other essential living costs. It is estimated that at least 1 in 4 families suffers from food insecurity.
With a determination to win the fight against hunger in the Long Beach community, the HMHY Nutrition Knights Whittier Elementary School food pantry welcomes anyone in need, every 3rd Wednesday of each month with fresh and packaged groceries including cultural foods. HMHY currently operates four other school food pantries at Lincoln, Cesar Chavez, Oropeza, and Stevenson elementary schools, as well as four community food pantry Long Beach locations, and Long Beach Food Pantry Delivery service for seniors. Since the demand for food pantries has increased over the last 6 months, seeing numbers triple, it became apparent there is a growing necessity for additional school locations.
HMHY prioritizes its Nutrition Knights food pantry locations to service areas with the greatest need. Economically disadvantaged students make up 90% of enrollments at Whittier Elementary School, Long Beach CA. These students are at greater risk of food insecurity which can lead to further adverse effects on the overall well-being of children and their families. According to Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), food insecurity is associated with poor health, developmental risks, mental health problems, and poor educational outcomes. “Food insecurity is a growing problem in Long Beach and much of the United States. It is important to all of us that no child is left hungry and that those in need do not have to worry about where their next meal may come from. This partnership between Whittier Elementary School and Help Me Help You is of great importance in continuing to improve and support our local communities and children’s wellbeing,” said Suely Saro, Councilwoman, City of Long Beach.
With the assistance of No Kid Hungry and Long Beach CAP, as well as the collaboration of participating schools, HMHY hopes Nutrition Knights school food pantries will provide a solution to food insecurity in our community. “As an individual, a team, and a community; we come together for each food pantry to feed our community with nutritious groceries, free essential community service resources, blessings, and hope. Together we can improve lives on an individual and community level”, said Zina Washington, HMHY Executive Director.
Established in 2002, Help Me Help You (HMHY) is a 501(c)(3) community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families in need by increasing access to food, public benefits, economic security, and social security benefits. HMHY provides essential services to more than 30,000 individuals annually, focusing on seniors; children; single mothers; disabled individuals; veterans; and the homeless. These services work to reduce hunger and poverty, improve nutrition and health, boost family economic security, as well as motivate and transition residents from lives of poverty to self-sufficiency. HMHY also measures the impact of services to improve health outcomes for individuals and the community at large.
For more information on HMHY food pantries, please visit www.helpmehelpu.org/food-pantry or contact (562) 612-5001.