Checkbox-571: #4, #5
Legal-name: Long Beach Community Table
Address: 3166 Ostrom Ave
City: Long Beach
Organizational-status: 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with a Platinum rating on Guidestar
Officer-title: Executive Director
Contacttitle: Executive Director
GrantPurpose: Our mission is to expand our current operations to meet the nutritional and hygiene needs of the city’s most vulnerable people who are increasing due to the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.
Periodoftime: May 1st thru June 30th, 2020
Audienceserved: Homeless, food insecure, unemployed/furloughed workers, elderly, veterans, homebound, children and low income families.
Demoofaudience: Low-income residents of all ages and ethnicities.
Numberofserved: 1800 per week
District: The greatest need is in Districts 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8; however, we do deliver food to needy people throughout Long Beach.
1. What disaster recovery service have already been provided? : Since the Safer-At-Home government orders began in mid-March, demand for our food distribution services has exploded. We now serve 1,800 people each week, which will only continue to increase as our economy takes time to recover after the pandemic slows. Although some resources and recipients are currently shut down, our volunteer team is completing as many of its regular weekly bulk food transfers as possible, collecting food at local markets and dropping them off at senior residences, veteran centers, sober living homes, etc. for approximately 1000 people per week.
Our normal weekend park distribution with the 24-foot bus has been modified for social distancing and safety, yet we are giving away more food and hygiene items than ever in distressed neighborhoods, including to the homeless, who are often overlooked by agency services. Last month, we initiated a new program in response to this crisis, establishing designated food pickup hours at our facility, which has been meeting a huge demand from people with suddenly reduced means who have nowhere else to get food. In fact, we will be adding another time next week, for five different days and periods when anyone can come by the warehouse at 9038 Artesia Blvd. and take home supplemental groceries: Tues. and Wed. 5:30-7:00pm, Fri. 2:00-4:oopm, Sat. 12:00-2:00pm, and Sun. 5:00-6:00pm (concurrent with the weekly Homebound food packing shift).
The Homebound Delivery program on Sunday nights has significantly expanded from our original roster of less than 20 weekly recipients to more than 80 as of April 26th, and we anticipate surpassing 100 requests by this coming weekend. Included in those numbers are people with disabilities or physical/mental health issues, those with compromised immune systems, quarantined seniors (many via their case workers), and desperate individuals and families who have lost their income, live in food deserts, and have no transportation to buy (or to come pick up) groceries. Likewise, the volunteer team for this program has more than quadrupled, and we are putting new systems in place to automate incoming requests and streamline our efforts.
Two weeks ago, LBCT collaborated with the temporarily closed ASI Beach Pantry at California State University, Long Beach, co-hosting a food pop-up that served several hundred students in need.
The COVID-19 Disaster Relief grant funding we already received earlier this month has been invaluable in enabling us to purchase food whenever necessary to fill the gaps of the donations we receive, and we are very grateful on behalf of our constituents. We’ve also had the means to purchase essential safety supplies, such as N95 face masks, food handling gloves, hand sanitizer, bleach, cleaners and other items to maintain a healthy, sanitary environment at our facility, and to protect volunteers and those we are serving at the highest level possible. Lastly, we have started to compensate more of our key staff and volunteers—such as our Homebound co-coordinators and weekend bus drivers—with stipends for the incredible work and countless hours they contribute, which ensures that they keep coming back!
2. What additional services, above your standard operations, will be conducted with this grant funding?: Because the need is growing faster than we can increase our incoming donations, additional funding from the Long Beach Community Foundation would primarily assist us to provide more food, health, dignity and compassion for a greater number of people, over a longer time during this high-need period. We will continue expanding our outreach and distribution to mobile, homebound, low-income, and homeless Long Beach residents who are in desperate circumstances in this unprecedented time. We are receiving at least a dozen or more food requests every single day and sometimes more—and we don’t want to turn anyone down.
We are still exploring the options to rent a smaller cargo van (as a second vehicle) that would provide us with more mobility so a volunteer driver can bring nutritious groceries directly into food desert areas several times a week where the larger bus cannot maneuver as nimbly. At least half of our current Home Delivery requests come from families who are not at high risk for the virus, but do not have access to transportation to come visit our facility for food. So we will use some of the funds for rent, fuel, and insurance for the van rental.
In addition, we want to continue compensating our committed and critically needed staff who are involved in coordinating the distribution of food to the most vulnerable members of our community during the current crisis and finally hire a part-time coordinator overseeing donation outreach, volunteer management and pick-up/drop-off scheduling.
We would also like to focus more on expanding our gardening outreach by making soil, seeds and seedlings available at our warehouse during designated pickup hours for those who would like to grow their own food and increase their self-sufficiency. We intend to publicize and support that program with flyers and videos on our website and social media on how to grow gardens, until we are once again able to hold in-person classes and workshops, and relaunch our popular garden-building program.
3. What individuals (and/or organizations) will you assist? : We will continue to assist City Heart, Drop In Center-Homeless Assistance Program (MHALA-The Village); WISE and Healthy Aging (via an elder abuse social worker); ASI Beach Pantry at CSULB; and numerous at-risk, low-income, elderly, and/or immune-compromised individuals who have reached out to our organization online or via social media for help with food; and any future requests as they come in, along with veterans, homeless, students and other homebound individuals who cannot access food or hygiene for physical reasons.
4. What other disaster recovery funds have you received? What amount? LBCT was among the initial five organizations to receive first-round funding from this COVID-19 Disaster Relief grant ($20k). We have also been awarded mini-grants from United Way of Los Angeles County ($2,500) and a private foundation ($1,000), and have several social media fundraisers in process, including Facebook and GoFundMe Charity (with the opportunity to qualify for a matching donation). In addition, we’ve received generous gifts from individuals in the community. Approximately $26,000 total so far, with more on the way.
5. What other disaster recovery funds have you applied for? (: We applied for and received a United Way of LA County mini-grant.