LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With so many out of work due to the pandemic, demand at local food banks and food pantries have increased substantially, up 80 percent at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank alone. A shortage of food has not been the problem, but rather a disrupted supply chain, ABC’s Josh Haskell reported.
Haskell’s report highlights the success of the USDA’s Farmers To Families Food Box Program. The newly established program brings food that would otherwise not have a market directly to families who need it most. Recipient agencies, including local food banks and food pantries, are provided with food boxes and delivery resources needed to feed families, seniors and children as demand continues to rise.
Don Lee Farms, one of the companies chosen by the USDA, is making and delivering over one million servings a day and hiring people like Jennifer Dorantes and Haxel Melgar, who were laid off from a dental office and restaurant because of the pandemic. Their stories were featured on ABC.
"I know I'm making a difference providing people with food during this crisis," Haxel Melgar, a new Don Lee Farms employee, told ABC. "You have to keep on working hard and it doesn't matter if it's not in the same environment."
Just two months ago, Jennifer Dorantes lost her job as a dental assistant because of the coronavirus emergency. But, she transitioned from her dentist job to becoming a trained quality control technician at Don Lee Farms. "Temperature has to be good, weight has to be good, everything has to be perfect. The food needs to be in good quality in order for us to send it out," Dorantes told ABC.
Donald Goodman, president of Don Lee Farms, added, "The whole market has shifted as we know. Restaurants closed. Retail went up and processors need to re-tool in a quick manner which wasn't always possible as demands shifted so drastically. With the department of agriculture stepping in, they got the food flowing again to people that really need it. I'm so happy that we're able to hire employees that have been displaced during this time. We're an essential workplace. The food supply is essential. They know they're coming into a safe work environment and they're able to get a job they wouldn't normally have and a job for a good purpose."
About Don Lee Farms:
Established in California in 1982, Don Lee Farms is a family-owned producer of fresh and frozen foods for some of the world's most recognized and successful brands. Don Lee Farms makes plant-based and meat proteins for over 10,000 markets, clubs, foodservice and school foodservice locations in over 15 countries. Consumer products and end items are sold at major retailers nationwide such as Costco Wholesale, Whole Foods Markets, Trader Joes, Kroger, Publix, HEB and Albertsons Companies under the Don Lee Farms label, private brands and under brands of their partners. For more information, visit www.DonLeeFarms.com or follow Don Lee Farms on Facebook and Twitter, @DonLeeFarms.