2019 Strategic Grant
Legal-name: Long Beach Community Table
Address: 3166 Ostrom Ave.
City: Long Beach
Ranking-title: Kristen Cox
First-name: Kristen Cox
Title: Executive Director
Tel-952: (562) 673-1798
Textarea-499: The grant will help grow a successful program which provides food, clothing, and other essentials to homeless and housing-insecure families and residents of Long Beach.
What-is-project: LBCT partners with local organizations to foster sustainable community that supports the well-being, empowerment, and dignity of housing- and food-insecure people in the Greater Long Beach area. With the primary goal of expanding the accessibility of fresh food to underserved populations, our dedicated volunteer team collects and delivers nutritious food, organic produce, hygiene items, clothing, and other resources directly to those in need. Each week, we serve 6000+ lbs. of food to more than 1,000 housing-insecure families, unhoused individuals, students, homebound, seniors, and veterans on a free or donation basis. We expect recipients to double over the next year to at least 2000. LBCT’s activities include: Weekend distribution of food, produce, hygiene and clothing to the homeless at 8 local parks; weekly school distribution; deliveries to students, seniors, veterans, homebound, and low-income families; and garden builds. Simply, we do this because of the extremely high need for food among the marginalized people we serve in Long Beach:
Twenty percent of Long Beach residents live under the poverty line, while approximately 40% of residents are food insecure (www.livewelllongbeach.org/indicators/index/view?indicatorId=2993&localeId=132462) and over 4,000 people become homeless here every year (daily49er.com/news/2019/02/06/long-beach-city-council-approves-development-for-homeless-shelter). Though the majority of LB homeless are veterans, over 3,000 LBUSD K-12 students are homeless (www.lbschools.net/Departments/Education_Foundation/programs.cfm), 40% of college students in our area are food-insecure, and 25% are unhoused (www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-cal-state-homelessness-20160620-snap-story.html, www2.calstate.edu/impact-of-the-csu/student-success/basic-needs-initiative/Documents/BasicNeedsStudy_phaseII_withAccessibilityComments.pdf and www.presstelegram.com/2018/09/05/cal-state-long-beach-asks-students-for-meal-donations-for-food-insecure-on-campus). Many housing-insecure families must choose between paying for housing, food, and medicine on a daily basis; we help handle one of those needs. The homeless not only have minimal funds, but no access to nutritious, ready-to-eat food; we bring fresh, organic produce to them. What makes us unique is that, in addition to receiving surplus donations from local farmers’ markets and grocery stores, we grow some of our own produce. Our volunteer team builds, maintains, and harvests our own network of vegetable gardens, as well as gathering fresh, local, organic, and high quality produce from other volunteers’ and organizations’ gardens. What make us a fit for the Long Beach Community Foundation Strategic Grant is the focus of our program. Our clients are primarily homeless and housing-insecure families and other residents of Long Beach who reside in food desert areas. We help meet the challenge of finding an affordable, reliable source of high-quality food.
How-will-you-succeed: Our objective is to provide nutritious, mostly organic food, toiletries, and other necessities to the residents with the most need in greater Long Beach. Currently we distribute 6,000 pounds of food per week. We are planning for this to grow to 8,000 pounds per week in the coming year. That is an increase of 104,000 pounds per year or a 33% increase. We continue to recruit new garden sponsors, and there is more than enough need to go with the produce we gather from each new garden. We keep records on the numbers of people we serve. We will continue to do this, and we will know when we have met and surpassed the goal we have set.
It can be said that we have already succeeded, in that word is beginning to spread about our model of operations, and we are receiving contacts from organizations in surrounding areas wanting to pattern their activities after us. We intend to continue growing our operations while we support other groups in their efforts to expand on our success. We have a basic website and social media presence, which will expand and receive significant updates over the coming months. Through our partnerships with other organizations that serve hunger and housing needs in our community, we have become part of a mutually supportive network, where information about needs and challenges is shared, as well as solutions and successes, such as ours. We plan to report information and statistics about our growing success to our grantors and donors, as well as share information throughout our network. Long Beach Community Table is designed to be a self-sustaining organization. We receive regular food donations and a portion of the toiletries and hygiene items that we distribute, and have recently secured a long-term sponsorship to provide much-needed storage and office space. We continue to reach out to potential sponsors, as well as holding online fundraisers and benefit events. The grant dollars requested from the Long Beach Community Foundation are intended as a support during our current high-growth period.
Who-are-you: Long Beach Community Table (LBCT) is a registered not-for-profit 501(c)3 set up as a collectively-managed workers’ cooperative. This is a values-driven organizational structure that puts worker and community benefit at the core of its purpose. As a non-profit, our “worker/members” own the organization and participate in its financial success on the basis of their labor contribution to the cooperative. However, all members partake in decisions democratically and equally, with a “one member, one vote” rule, regardless of the amount of financial or sweat equity they invest.
We collaborate extensively with other local organizations to maximize our reach and expand our efforts of providing food security for marginalized populations. We aim to foster a sustainable community by sourcing our food locally, and even growing as much of it as we can ourselves. We believe in empowering and supporting the well-being, dignity, and self-determination of the homeless, and housing- and food-insecure populations in the Greater Long Beach area. We currently have four board members, each paying a minimum dues contribution of $50 per year, and with one vote on official business matters. Our officers are elected. Many of them contribute far beyond the $50 contribution.
Our group formed to work for the interests of the poor and disenfranchised segments of our community, and we are also very concerned for the environment and overall sustainability of our society. That is why we grow organic food and source as much of our food locally as we can. Our ongoing partners include Foodfinders, Food Forward, City Heart, World Harvest, Long Beach Fresh, Long Beach Farmer’s Markets, Stella’s Socks, Growing Experience, Organic Harvest, Harvest Partners, Sprouts, Aldi’s, Trader Joe’s, Long Beach Unified School District, Saint Luke’s Church, The Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach, Crossroads Church, Kellogg’s Soil, and many more. We have one main project which is the distribution of food, clothing, hygiene and basic necessities to the homeless, housing-insecure, and food-insecure populations of Long Beach. This is what we focus our efforts on. Our attention is undivided and it shows in our success to date.