The copy and mailbox shop in South Los Angeles where Denise Loulendo worked nearly closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and she was offered only minimal work hours. She was struggling financially, plus recovering from a sudden fall. Fortunately, Loulendo consulted with her neighbor, a board member with the local non-profit organization HALA, which stands for Hunger Action Los Angeles. Her neighbor promptly arranged for food to be delivered to Loulendo.
One person’s story
During the peak of the pandemic, HALA provided weekly deliveries of nutritious meals and produce to Loulendo, and to other Los Angelenos facing financial and health hardships. Eating a healthy, balanced diet alters health paths for people living with diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
Making communities healthier
“I was particularly happy that HALA provided me with healthy meals from my favorite neighborhood restaurants,” said Loulendo. “After becoming a customer and developing a kinship with the volunteer who delivered my meals, I became involved with HALA as an advocate for others in need.”
“Previous funding from Kaiser Permanente helped keep local families nourished with meals during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Frank Tamborello, executive director, HALA. “Additionally, HALA addresses big-picture issues through education and advocacy of programs. One program, CalAIM, focuses on all facets of a person’s life to best match them with important services for housing, food, social support, mental health, and more,” said Tamborello.
Responding to food insecurity
Food for Life is a comprehensive approach by Kaiser Permanente to strategically partner with local community organizations to positively transform economic, social, and policy environments that will enable people in need to have access to affordable, healthy food.
A current 2-year, $90,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente in Southern California is helping HALA get individuals enrolled in CalFresh, the federal food program, and Market Match, California’s incentive program for purchasing fresh produce at local farmers markets. Nearly 30% of households likely to be eligible for CalFresh are not enrolled in the program.
HALA continues to address food insecurity by reaching out to low-income, immigrant communities, persons with disabilities, and seniors who are eligible for CalFresh in underserved Spanish-, Korean-, and Mandarin-speaking communities. The organization also recruits and trains residents on food policy to advocate for the expansion of CalFresh eligibility and incentives at the county, state, and federal levels. Learn more about our work to build healthier communities.