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As Food Insecurity Rises, Making Sure No One Goes Hungry in LA County


Magazine, Living Well

The good news is that it’s never been easier to get food support; the bad news is that of the 3 million people eligible for that support, fewer than half have signed up. As food insecurity rises, it’s vital to get information out about what benefits are available, how to access them, and the expanding eligibility requirements. A  panel briefing organized by Ethnic Media Services  experts addresses the recent relaxing of public-charge rules, which have restricted many immigrants from accessing food support and other government benefits.

In her welcoming remarks, Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor to the First District lamented the immorality of families left with little or no  food. She implored the media present to be champions and messengers of the community by sharing the information provided by the experts. She noted that there is plenty of food to go around as millions of pounds of food, and millions of dollars worth of formula for babies had been distributed to those in need. Very grateful to those partners and workers who had help make this happen

Dr. Kayla de la Haye, Professor of Preventive Medicine, USC – USC study on food insecurity explained what food insecurity really means and the disparities in the communities.  It is essentially the inability to have consistent meals as a result of lack of financial resources  or other challenges.Noting that there had been a plateau of food insecurity since April 2020, teh pandemic had contributed to a slight resurgence.

It is worth noting that in Los Angeles County years of declining food insecurity  in low-income households  had spiked during this period . In the study conducted by USC (University of Southern California) Latino and Black households reported the highest group affected by food insecurity at 40% Latino and 39% black while the Asian households reported a 29% rate and 21% for non-Hispanic whites.

Kiran Saluja, Executive Director, PHFE WIC (a program of Haluna Health) – WIC Benefits, lamented that in spite of the ease of application and approval process many women, pregnant mothers and children were yet to be enrolled. The process which has been made easy includes ease of purchase at grocery stores where foods approved by WIC are labeled. These foods provide a lifetime of great nutrition. Today there are even more added benefits provided for by the American Rescue Plan Act  set to expire in September,  giving an extra $35 per child for fruits and vegetables. To access the WIC program applicants can call this number 888-942-2229or visit the website at

The website at is an excellent resource for online education on all kinds of recipes and educational material.

LaShonda Diggs, Division Chief, LA County Dept. of Public Social Services, shared that CalFresh participants can also access resources at restaurants and farmers’ markets.She also lamented that many people who qualify for these benefits are not taking advantage of these resources in upwards of 1.5million people. Essentially a family of three that earns less than $3620 would qualify for up to $600 a month. Under the America Rescue Plan ACT these benefits are set to expire in September.To apply for these benefits information can be found at For more information call 866-613- 3777 from Monday to Friday , 7:30am to 7:30pm. And Saturdays  from 8am to 4:30pm.

Lastly, Rigo Reyes, Director, Office of Immigrant Affairs  gave a Public Charge update stating that it will not affect their statuses or immigration process. The effects of the anti-immigrant rhetoric will take time to get undone  but everyone is encouraged to do their due diligence to check on their eligibility for the various programs and to take advantage of them for the betterment of themselves and their families.

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