Senior Pantry Program Takes Over Southern California

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September 27, 2022

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(LOS ANGELES, Calif.) For eight years on the third Thursday of each month, volunteers for Huntington Park’s senior pantry program have gathered at the community center and distributed non-perishable items to senior citizens.

Javier Franco, the field support manager, works for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank (Food Bank), the organization which provides the pantry items for low-income communities. “I am so grateful to see so many happy people. This is such a beautiful place to work,” he said.

On weekdays, Franco sets up Food Bank sites all over Los Angeles County and specifically in neighborhoods with food insecurities. For the Huntington Park site, he feels “grateful” to assist approximately 300 people each month.

Franco says that while the attendance seems high, it’s lower than pre-pandemic when the program consistently served more than 560 recipients. 

“I think we will see more growth as time goes on,” Franco said.

Rosa and Abel Salcido, a couple in their 70s, took two boxes of goods home and are appreciative of what the Food Bank offers their family for almost a year.

“We heard of the program when we were living in another part of Los Angeles. There was an older woman walking with a cart and a Food Bank box. We asked her where she got it and she told us about this place,” Abel Salcido said.

The Salcidos are two of more than 90,000 low-income individuals over 60 that benefited from the Food Bank’s program in 2021.

This particular Thursday, September 15 the program handed out over 420 boxes that contained items such as cheese, beans, rice, pasta, and peanut butter. 

If Franco were to change one thing about the offerings, he would include more fresh vegetables, something which he says the headquarters’ current storage capacity does not allow. 

Regardless of his personal preference, the attendees appreciate the access to food.

“We think this is a good program. It helps with the little things we need,” Rosa Salcido said.

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Photograph courtesy: Francesca Braga

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