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Hawaiian Gardens Food Bank Helps Residents During Difficult Times

HELPING OUT: The Hawaiian Gardens Food Bank provides residents with free food and clothing that they can access every other week. It is funded by the Irving I. Moskowitz Foundation, owners of the Bingo Club in Hawaiian Gardens.

 

June 22, 2021

BY BRIAN HEWS

During the pandemic, the Hawaiian Gardens Food Bank, sponsored by The Irving I. Moskowitz Foundation, owners of the Bingo Club in Hawaiian Gardens, stepped up its usual operation providing free food and fresh produce, and any other donations available, to low income families, unemployed, disabled, and the homeless in Hawaiian Gardens and surrounding communities.

Food Bank Manager Leticia Macias and Purchasing Agent  Melisa Halloran became increasingly busy as the pandemic spread, serving nearly 2,000 families with food every month.

Families receive a bag of USDA goods such as rice, beans, pasta, canned vegetables, canned fruit, and other items and are limited to two visits per month, or every other week. The distribution is held outside the food bank with distributors practicing proper hygiene and social distancing.

But there is many other services the Food Bank provides to area residents and companies that many do not know about.

Not only do they provide necessary items to families, registered residents can also obtain a voucher for bread, milk or eggs, canned goods, and a large bag of fresh produce to use at a local grocery store.

“I don’t know what I would do if the food bank was not there,” said one resident who did not want to be identified, “it really helps me and my family, giving out food and other items every month to people like us.”

The Food Bank also provides healthy snacks and fresh fruit to several after school programs such as the Migrant Program and the Red Cross Club, while also holding a “Toys and Turkey’s”  event for the holidays.

Knowing that low income families need other items, , the Food Bank partners with Macy’s and other stores to obtain clothing and essential items to distribute.

“To not have to spend money on clothing every month is a real help,” said the resident, “I can use the money elsewhere, like for my rent.”

In addition, the Food Bank, in collaboration with the with ABC School District, holds citizenship classes for community members who are seeking U.S. Citizenship.

The program was first proposed by current ABCUSD Trustee Chris Apodaca, who represents Hawaiian Gardens, with the classes conducted at the ABC Adult School in Cerritos.

Management even partnered with the American Red Cross to distribute smoke alarms to the community.

Running the Food Bank is Manager Leticia Macias and Purchasing Agent Melisa Halloran, they are the face of the Food Bank and provide crucial experience in operating the organization.

Macias told HMG, “Funding for the Hawaiian Gardens Food Bank comes from the Irving I. Moskowitz Foundation. Because of their generous support, the community is able to feed over 2,000 families a month.”

The Food Bank is located at 22121 Norwalk Blvd in Hawaiian Gardens, the phone is (562) 860-9097.

Distribution hours are Tuesdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

 

Food Drive Held at Knabe Park(Opens in a new browser tab)