LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Southern California Gas Company officials have announced the donation of $25,000 to the LA Conservation Corps to collect excess food from restaurants and grocery and convenience stores to distribute to needy San Fernando Valley families.
The nonprofit’s Food Waste Prevention program — now in its second year of operation — gathers as much as 9,000 pounds of excess edible and inedible food daily. Edible food is distributed through MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity), a nonprofit that serves more than 33,000 San Fernando Valley residents each month.
MEND’s food bank serves individuals in the communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, San Fernando and Sun Valley.
Food that is inedible is donated to local community gardens. In the future, inedible food will also be shared with LA Compost at Cottonwood Urban Farm in Panorama City and Kroger’s anerobic digestion facility in Compton, which generates clean energy.
“The number of people experiencing food insecurity in Los Angeles has grown at an alarming rate due to the economic impacts of COVID-19,’’ said Frank Lopez, senior governmental affairs manager at SoCalGas and a board member at the LA Conservation Corps. “By providing LA Conservation Corps with this grant, we’re able to enlist our youth to help us respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by feeding families in need and making use of food that would otherwise end up in a landfill.”
Since the food waste prevention program began, LACC has diverted nearly 1 million pounds of food waste from landfills, distributed an estimated 787,500 pounds of edible food and composted more than 14,000 pounds of inedible food to local community gardens.
“We are so grateful to SoCalGas for helping us continue this vital program, especially now as more and more people in our communities are struggling with food insecurity,” LACC CEO Wendy Butts said.
“I am incredibly proud of and inspired by the selfless manner in which our Corpsmembers and staff have answered the call to serve those in need since the start of the pandemic. We hope to continue to build innovative and meaningful partnerships like this to affect real change.”
Since March, SoCalGas has donated more than $2 million to nonprofit organizations to support the region’s workforce, feed the hungry, provide bill assistance to customers and more as part of its COVID-19 recovery efforts.