Origins of the Compton Food Pantry in 2020
COVID-19 crisis impacted our city. Many businesses have been shuttered, first temporarily and some now permanently. Unemployment has skyrocketed from 6 % to 21 %. And the demand for emergency food has soared largely due to “lack of grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and healthy food providers.” Our network of nonprofit partners have seen up to 400% increase in the number of people coming through their doors for food assistance and this trend shows no signs of changing any time soon. Accessing healthy foods in greater Compton region is increasingly challenging for parts of the population; in particular, for households with children headed by single women or single men. Food insecurity may often put people even in the position of making trade-offs between healthy food, medicine, and other essential needs.
Food insecurity is defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. The rates of food insecurity limits people’s ability to have a balanced diet, places children and adults at higher risk of compromised immunity, obesity, diabetes and other diet-related health conditions, anxiety and depression, and reduced academic achievement.
In response to the pandemic, the city under the leadership of Mayor Aja Brown launched "Compton United Response Effort" (CURE). The mission critical food security partnership was formed between non-profit agencies across the city and private sector contributors to combat food insecurity in Compton during and after the pandemic. From March 2020 until January 2021 - the City of Compton provided facilities at Compton Career Link for the pantry operation. The Compton Chamber of Commerce assumed the operational management of the program and supplied commercial refrigeration units for cold storage of fresh products.
Compton Food Pantry Initiative
The program is based on five initiatives – Feeding Children, Feeding Families, Feeding Seniors, Feeding Veterans and Healthy Eating. Today, we are fully committed to sustaining this ministry, and ultimately, do our part to provide increased access to healthy, fresh food, help erase hunger in our community and impact lives for the longer term.
Compton Chamber of Commerce's Pantry Program Success in 2020
From March until the end of the year 2020, Compton Chamber of Commerce - in partnership with the Compton United Response Effort (CURE) and city officials - fought hunger in our community. During this time period, the program served well over 10,000 people every month. In total, the Chamber helped over 100,000 residents in our region; collecting, packaging, curbside distributing and delivering food and hygiene items.
Of course, this program would not have been a success without Chamber President Dr. Lestean M. Johnson's selfless leadership and unwavering dedication.
Also, without the hands-on support of countless volunteers, this program could not have completed such a monumental task. We have a wonderful community who supports us! Throughout last year, the support has been unbelievable. We're neighbors helping neighbors.
Temporary End Of The 2020 Compton Food Pantry Program
Last month, we announced that the Chamber operated pantry/food distribution service would come to an end in January 2021. This decision was made due to the "time limited" availability of the facilities at "Compton Career Link" - located at 700 N. Bullis. This location was made available to the Chamber by the city in order to run the large scale pantry program.
Going Forward With The "Compton Food Pantry" Program In 2021
Compton continues to be adversely affected by the pandemic. With the few surviving businesses opening slowly and vaccinations becoming available, some people may think that the pandemic problem is over. Yet, this is far from the reality.
This next phase of the pandemic requires us to evaluate the needs of our community anew. As the infectious virus continues to affect our community, many residents are still living on the edge, find themselves out of work, in need of food, shelter, money and healthcare assistance. The food pantries throughout our city are still seeing a surge of need.
In the light of the current circumstances, it's irrefutable that the Chamber needs to go on with its community assistance services, with the pantry operation in its core. We are committed to ensure that everyone in our community has access to fresh nutritious food, while the healthcare professionals continue to provide systematic testing, contact tracing, vaccination, hospital treatments and public-health messaging until we immunize against the virus effectively.
The New Location For The 2021 Compton Food Pantry Program
During the first months of 2021, the Compton Chamber leadership have been tirelessly working with the city officials to find a new location that accommodates the needs of the large scale pantry operation. The city leadership very fortcoming and committed to the new permanent location for the Compton Chamber Food Pantry to be the Lueders Park Community Center.
The new permanent location for the Compton Food Pantry is the Lueders Park Community Center located at 1500 East Rosecrans Ave. in Compton.
The "Compton Food Pantry" will resume its operations at the new site on Monday, March 1st, 2021.
The first food pick-up date open to public will be Wednesday, March 4th, 2021.
The curb-side food distribution hours at the new site will be from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on following days of the week: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Participating churches and other partner food distribution operations throughout the City of Compton will pick up their supplies on Wednesdays from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Logistics of Compton Food Pantry Program
Most people do not know what a food pantry is before they worked at one. People know the food pantries collect and donate food, but most folks never think about the logistics of how the food is distributed to the people that need it.
A food pantry of our size and volume requires reliable refrigeration and facilities to ensure food is not wasted and meals are not missed.
Furthermore, deliveries must be carefully coordinated with “partner agencies” so that all foods that are susceptible to spoilage remain fresh until distribution.
We're neighbors helping neighbors!
Throughout last year, the support in terms of receiving, inspecting, inside sorting, portioning and storage as well as curb-side preparations before food distribution has been unbelievable.
Countless good-hearted, kind, generous people give and help. They come to our food pantry with their time, their talents, and their caring. When these people team up with our patrons in need, that’s when the magic happens.
Without the helping hands-on support of countless volunteers, this program could not have completed such a monumental task. We have a wonderful community who supports us!
All pantry activities including, but not limited to receiving, unpacking, inspection, storage, sorting, portioning, repacking and curbside distribution are conducted in strict accordance with the USDA food safety guidelines.
Furthermore, the COVID safety guidelines are rigorously followed by the volunteers and patrons.
Helping People In Need !
There are literally people of all ages and backgrounds, some living on their own, some working, some out of work, and some suffering from an illness or disability. There are lots of elderly people who can’t survive off only social security. The formerly incarcerated and veterans are also often stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty.
The common denominator between every person that drives up to our curbside food pickup location is, that they are in a vulnerable position in our city. Some are literally experiencing hunger, cutting back the size of their meals or skipping meals because there isn’t enough food.