Since the Los Angeles Unified School District closed on March 13, the L.A. Dream Center immediately stepped in to provide meals for families who rely on free school meals every day. They have opened their doors seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to provide food and other essential items. As of this week, the Dream Center has now served 300,000 meals at their campus in Echo Park, and via delivery to vulnerable seniors who need to remain isolated in their homes.
The Dream Center is currently providing around 11,000 meals a day. With LAUSD schools closed until further notice, these relief efforts will continue. As the threat of COVID-19 spreads, the needs of the people continue to evolve as well, and the Dream Center is responding to these needs while complying with all advice and regulations from the CDC, Gov. Gavin Newsom and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.
They have implemented a drive-thru process to safely and quickly move families in and out of the campus. For those who are simply walking in, it is a pick-up-and-go system, with limited contact. Through the Dream Center's mobile food banks, food is also being delivered to 20 different outreach sites within a 19-mile radius of the Dream Center that includes communities in Watts and Skid Row. They are also serving the city's elderly population by delivering care packages with food and other resources to residences and senior living homes in Echo Park.
"Every morning I wake up and stand in the parking lot with our dedicated staff, I am blown away that day after day, week after week, there is enough food to provide to folks that need it," said Dream Center co-founder Matthew Barnett. "It's a miracle of biblical proportions. The Los Angeles Dream Center has transformed into the Grand Central Station of food distribution and other basic essentials. I'm so grateful that our team has stayed healthy, and that we've found a safe way to meet the urgent needs within our community. I can't say thank you enough to the various donors who've made this a reality. This is what a neighborhood, a community, and a church should always look like."
To get an inside look at a day on the job during this crisis, click here to see the Dream Center in action.
The Dream Center has received an outpouring of support from local legislators, nearby restaurants, other California businesses, and even celebrities and athletes. Kanye West made headlines earlier this month with his generous donation to help the Dream Center continue their ministry to the people of Los Angeles in these chaotic times.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell was at the Dream Center campus to witness this rapid-response effort, and he returned last week to deliver masks to those who don't have any when they arrive for a meal. State Senator Maria Elena Durazo also donated diapers to families and served on the food line as well. Chick-fil-A has been donating sandwiches every day for the Dream Center's efforts, and Anthem Blue Cross has provided hundreds of hand sanitizers. Numerous other local food vendors have been donating meals as well. Organizations such as the Justin Turner Foundation have also made financial contributions. On Friday, the L.A. Dodgers even teamed up with the Dream Center to distribute "Dodger Dogs" for lunch.
They are also accepting food donations to help during this crisis, and those looking to give financially can do so here.
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