Updated: Dec 19, 2022
PRESS RELEASE: Help Me Help You Opens 4th School Food Pantry To Service Hardest Hit Long Beach Areas
Long Beach, California – Help Me Help You (HMHY) commenced the 4th Nutrition Knights school food pantry location at Lincoln Elementary School, on May 12th, 2021, to feed those greatest in need by expanding access to free healthy groceries. Communities that were already battling with food insecurity prior to the COVID-19 pandemic have grown in numbers, as hunger remains a critical problem for Long Beach children and their families. With the recent reopening of schools, the Nutrition Knights food pantry service also provides the opportunity to entice children and families back to the school environment.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Long Beach is part of the South Bay Service Planning area which has the highest percentage of low-income households experiencing food insecurity. Families are often faced with cutting down or skipping meals and having to choose between using their money to buy food or pay for housing, or other living expenses. It is estimated that at least 1 in 4 children in America suffers from food insecurity.
When identifying the best locations to expand Nutrition Knights school food pantry services, HMHY prioritizes the areas with the greatest need as well as the school’s willingness to help the community. According to the California Department of Education, 95% of Lincoln Elementary school children are economically disadvantaged, and 9.30% of children enrolled in the 2019-2020 school year were homeless. Food insecurity can have an adverse domino effect on the overall well-being of children and the community. “It can lead to depression, developmental problems, health issues, and poor education outcomes. As a community, it’s essential that we help children and families with the greatest need to access nutritious fresh produce and packaged food,” said Zina Washington, HMHY Executive Director.
The reopening of LBUSD schools in late April 2021, has seen few children return to school, with Lincoln Elementary reporting approximately 25% attendance of children enrolled. The new HMHY Nutrition Knights food pantry at Lincoln Elementary School, invites all those in need to receive healthy groceries and essential community service information in a friendly and familiar school environment every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month, between 11:15 AM and 12:15 PM. “Lincoln Elementary is very thankful to HMHY, Nutrition Knights, for providing free groceries to our Lincoln families that require much-needed help during these difficult times. Lincoln Elementary + Help Me Help You, Nutrition Knights = A community in action!”, said Juan Gonzalez, Lincoln Elementary Assistant Principal.
HMHY currently operates seven other Long Beach community and school food pantry locations including Oropeza, Cesar Chavez, and Stevenson Elementary Schools, as well as a Long Beach Food Pantry Delivery for seniors, however, there remains a great need for additional school locations throughout the area. You can support HMHY food pantry services by making donations at http://www.helpmehelpu.org/donate. For more information on Nutrition Knights school food pantries, please contact us on (562) 612 5001 or visit www.helpmehelpu.org/food-pantry.
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.