Photo/L.A. Works Volunteer helps pack meals for the needy.

L.A. Works is seeking volunteers to help provide meals for those in need in the Greater Los Angeles area, including food pantries in the San Fernando Valley.

The organization is hoping to recruit 1,000 people to help package 200,000 meals in commemoration this Saturday, Sept. 11, at the LA. Convention Center, event spokesperson Samantha Wheeler said. Residents of the San Fernando Valley are encouraged to participate.

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, helping distribute food packages of rice, lentils and other donated nonperishables, works with 75 Valley area agencies including St. Ferdinand Church in San Fernando; Khalsa Care Foundation in Pacoima; Onegeneration Senior Enrichment Center and YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles in Reseda; St. Mary and St. Athanasius Coptic churches in Northridge; Redeemer Lutheran Outreach in Winnetka; Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles SOVA Valley Community Food & Resource Program in Van Nuys; and Centro de Vida International Church Movement in North Hills. 

“Between the L.A. Works staff and additional volunteers [who live throughout LA County], the Valley will be represented,” Wheeler said.

The event is one of eleven being held nationwide by the nonprofit, 911 Day, in locations that include Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Phoenix, St. Louis, and Washington, DC.

Founded 19 years ago, 9/11 Day annually organizes the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance as a tribute to those killed and injured in the terrorist attacks 20 years ago as well for those who responded and helped others during the tragedy.

Food insecurity has been an issue in the L.A. region for many years and grown exponentially during the pandemic, according to David May, Regional Food Bank spokesperson.

“Before COVID, we were serving about 300,000 people per month. Now we serve about 900,000,” May said.

That figure represents approximately 10 percent of the Los Angeles County population. While some sense of normalcy may return as the economy recovers, May said that “many families [still] rely on food assistance to put food on their tables.” 

Helping families and individuals to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary is encouraging for Wheeler. “We are excited to turn a day of tragedy into something good,” she said.

To sign up as a volunteer and get more information on the Los Angeles Meal Pack for 9/11 Day, visit www.laworks.com.

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