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Cal State LA teamed up with partners from the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Los Angeles County to offer a free drive-thru food distribution Thursday to provide basic needs to communities served by the university.

About 2,700 families each received 80 pounds of food and baby items, including diapers and wipes, during the June 25 event in Cal State LA’s Parking Lot 5.

The distribution provided much-needed support for community residents impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Demand for food assistance has gone up 70% across the Los Angeles region since the start of the pandemic, according to food bank officials.

“This food distribution is an important initiative that enables us to continue serving our communities during a difficult period,” said Cal State LA President William A. Covino. “We appreciate our collaboration with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Los Angeles County.”

County officials said the food distribution was among the largest events of its kind held in recent weeks. Before the start of the drive-thru event, hundreds of vehicles lined up, circling the Cal State LA campus. Boxes of food were delivered to university housing for students living on campus.

The expansive lot at the university enabled volunteers to set up 5 rows with 20 distribution stations. At each station, boxes of groceries stacked up to nearly 10 feet high. The boxes were filled with meat, dairy products and produce, and items for babies were given to families who needed them.

Donning protective face coverings, gloves and yellow and orange safety vests, volunteers from Los Angeles County, Cal State LA, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, and Labor Community Services distributed the boxes of free items to a steady stream of vehicles throughout the day. Each family received four 20-pound boxes of groceries.

The food distribution was sponsored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Los Angeles County Library, Baby2Baby, Cal State LA and its Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good, and Associated Students, Inc. at Cal State LA.

“We look forward to similar initiatives that benefit our communities,” Cal State LA Associate Vice President for Operations and Chief Mission Officer Belen Vargas said.

Vargas helped coordinate the mega food giveaway with the university’s community partners.

“Partnerships like these are more important than ever as we confront the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Cal State LA Provost and Executive Vice President Jose A. Gomez. “This is the first of several community care initiatives to support the region we serve.”

Find additional resources and support on Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 food assistance website or call 2-1-1 to speak with an operator about food assistance services.

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