Keeping Them honest

…so the other day I had the opportunity to attend a press conference with Supervisor Hilda L. Solis ,who was joined by Michael Flood (President & CEO of the Regional Food Bank) to discuss resources available to our families that are struggling to find and put food on their tables.

During the COVID -19 shutdowns it was easy for some to forget that El Monte & So. El Monte are in a food desert. The recent addition of Superior Market on Valley Blvd. and the Gonzalez/Northgate Market over on Peck have helped a little but for many of the residents of our community it is still a long way to go to purchase healthy food.

During the pandemic smaller markets like the Carlton Market and other family owned businesses have been hard hit by some of the restrictions placed on them as they valiantly strive to meet the needs of the community. So we have been watching closely as the Supervisor has opened food pantries around the hardest pressed neighborhoods and applaud her efforts.

It was good to see Director Antonia Jimenez from the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS). With a total population of more than 10 million residents, LA County is home to the highest number of people experiencing food insecurity in the nation.

The pandemic has disproportionately impacted the communities that are the most reluctant to seek public assistance – immigrants who fear that it might jeopardize their status. DPSS must insure that no one goes to bed hungry, regardless of their immigration status.

Also, on a personal note, I was glad to see Acting Director Otto Solarzano, the County’s Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) at the conference. The county’s treatment and care for the seniors is one of our top concerns. This pandemic has hit the hardest in the nursing homes and has heavily impacted active seniors who are not allowed use of the many fine Senior Centers in the area and are now finding themselves isolated.

I am happy to report that with the announced expansion of the County’s Promotores Program (community health care workers who build bridges between clinical care and local residents in the Spanish speaking community) and increased support and availability of food pantries and needs of our seniors, steps are being taken to keep the promise to care for these populations that are often forgotten.