Free groceries, facemasks and hot meals were distributed to more than 500 individuals and families during a food drive held on April 3, in Compton.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Social Change, Compton Chamber of Commerce and several grassroots organizations sponsored the three-hour event, which took place in the parking lot of Calvary Baptist Church. Attendees either drove up or walked up to receive an array of free food, including fresh produce as well as confidential HIV tests and an opportunity to win a $50 Ralph’s gift card.
According to the organizers, an estimated 15,000 pounds of food was given out to assist people in need. The majority of the recipients were African American and Latinx families who experience hunger at greater rates than White, non-Hispanic households based on studies by Feed America. Also, a report by the California Association of Food Banks indicated that one out of every four Californians doesn’t know where their next meal will come from.
“Food insecurity is an epidemic that is plaguing our nation, and AHF is committed to work with organizations in communities across the U.S., to take an innovative and impactful approach to addressing this critical issue,” said Imara Canady, AHF’s national director of Communications and Community Engagement and chair of the Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition powered by AHF.
Canady also acknowledged the other groups that co-hosted the giveaway. They included the Compton Initiative, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Los Angeles Stentorians, Elevate Culture, Academia Avance, Project Giving Kids, Stus, Dominguez High School and City Church.
Todd Belcore, executive director of Social Change, emphasized how the event focused on African Americans and occurred during a significant holiday observance. “It’s important that the world understands that saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ isn’t a political statement, it’s a cry for help,” he noted.
“That’s why I can’t be more grateful for all the leaders of every color, sector and belief who have come together on this Easter weekend to respond to their neighbor’s cry by meeting some of our neighbor’s urgent needs and honoring the life, legacy and contributions of Black people in America. This is the sort of energy that creates the space for understanding and – with that – real progress,” stressed Belcore.
In response to AHF’s motivation for co-sponsoring the event, Canady explained that the effort was part of an ongoing effort of the organization to assist those in need. He added that AHF and BLACC have donated more than 60,000 pounds of fresh produce and food to communities of color across the United States.
“For over three decades, AHF has a legacy of arising and responding to the needs of vulnerable populations. Recognizing the on-going issue around food insecurity in urban cores across this country, AHF has made a commitment to work with community partners to innovatively address closing the gap in food insecure communities,” said Canady.
“We believe that just as access to quality affordable healthcare and housing is a basic human right that should be available to all, so is access to healthy food. The food drives, are just one way that AHF, through a new subsidiary to be launched as a part of the organization’s work, will be doing to combat this critical issue.”
In addition, Canady shared that AHF, through BLACC, plans to partner with Social Change to host healthy food drives in communities of color across the nation. To learn more about AHF’s activities, visit aidshealth.org.