Although campuses are closed, the Los Angeles school district has become the largest distributor of meals for the hungry in the state, giving food not only to students, but to anyone who shows up — no questions asked, except: How much do you need?
The mammoth operation has given out about 10 million “grab-and-go” meals since March 18 from 63 campuses in the sprawling Los Angeles Unified School District, partnering with the Red Cross and the regional food bank.
In one day more than 26,000 gallons of milk, 219,000 boxes of cereal, 27,525 pounds of carrots, 50 tons of fruit and countless turkey sausages will be given away, a nearly round-the-clock effort that begins in warehouses and ends in ever-growing lines.
Morning drop-off lanes have been transformed into food pickup drive-throughs that can stretch more than half a mile. Families stand clustered outside campuses in walk-up lines, spaced six feet apart by cones. L.A. Unified is spending more than $2 million per day in food costs — about $40 million so far, funds it believes will be reimbursed by the federal government.
“This is a community in crisis,” said Los Angeles schools Supt. Austin Beutner. “Anyone who arrives looking for food, we’re assuming needs the food — and we’re going to provide it.”
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