Food Rescue in Food Insecure Communities Grant and Food Rescue Transportation Services Pilot Programs

ABOUT THE FOOD RESCUE IN FOOD INSECURE COMMUNITIES GRANT PROGRAM

The Food Rescue in Food Insecure Communities Grant Program (Food Rescue Grants) is a two-part funding opportunity intended to address food insecurity and climate change by supporting food recovery and distribution systems within the City of Los Angeles. In partnership with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC) and Rising Communities, LASAN distributes these funds to FROs in order to expand capacity for food rescue within the City.


MACRO GRANT’S PURPOSE

The Food Rescue Macro Grant Program is a capacity building grant that funds multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral partnerships (“Collaboratives”) in Los Angeles. The program aims to deepen relationships, develop processes, and implement projects that will bridge gaps and strengthen the infrastructure of the larger food recovery network in Los Angeles. Collaboratives selected for the Food Rescue Macro Grants will be awarded up to $104,000.00 for their projects.

The Macro Grant’s funding will be distributed to community based organizations who form a collaborative that prioritize infrastructural improvements across the entire food recovery sector, with a particular emphasis on projects that have usability and benefits that extend beyond the collective itself. These grants aim to support initiatives that adopt an open-source approach, creating solutions and resources that can be shared and utilized by a wider network of organizations. Additionally, collaborative structures that are representative of the communities they support and are composed of a diverse range of organizations and groups in scale, scope, and mission. Finally, the selected collaboratives are expected to be representative of the communities they support, ensuring that the voices and perspectives of diverse populations are incorporated into decision-making processes.

Collaboratives applying for the Food Rescue Macro Grant must have projects that focus on one or more of the following identified Focus Areas:

  • Technological Solutions: Digital tools, software, databases, etc that seek to improve communication, coordination, and flow within the food recovery network, ultimately reducing food waste and increasing the reach of recovered food to communities.
  • Cooperative Resourcing: Collaborative approaches and shared resource utilization among multiple stakeholders; pooling and coordinating resources to optimize efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance overall efficacy of food recovery efforts.
  • Networking & Community-building: Intentional efforts aimed at fostering connection, collaborations, and partnerships among the various stakeholders involved with food waste, hunger, and food recovery.
More information regarding eligibility can be found on LAFPC’s website.

MICRO GRANT’S PURPOSE

The Food Rescue Micro Grants specifically aim to increase the capacity and help meet the infrastructural needs of Food Recovery Organizations (FROs) and other community based organizations (CBOs) working within the food recovery space. Awardees of the Food Rescue Micro Grants will be awarded up to $25,000 for material needs to increase their capacity to recover and distribute more food to communities in the City of Los Angeles.

Grants will be awarded with an emphasis on providing material needs in order to build capacity. Priority will be given to less resourced organizations and to organizations that work with communities that have been historically underfunded and resourced.

More information can be found on LAFPC’s website.

IMPACT

LASAN was able to distribute thirteen microgrants in May 2023 and three macro grants in October 2023. The microgrants were used to expanded food recovery capacity in varying ways by the following organizations:

  • Grass Roots Neighbors: Grant was used for a refrigerator, cooking equipment for meal prep, a hand truck and a ladder.
  • FND-Distro (Fiscal Sponsor-Karmic Action Retribution Management Agency): Grant was used for equipment for food operations, including a refrigerator, serving tools, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), dollies, pressure cookers, translator services for recipients of food and fuel.
  • All Peoples Community Center: Grant was used for equipment, including trash receptacles, plywood for shelving, compost bins, cell phones, portable hotspot and certification training for staff.
  • South LA Community Foundation: Grant was used for a refrigerated transport truck with a lift gate.
  • Proyecto Pastoral: Grant was used for equipment, including a forklift, refrigerator, pallet jacks and staff certification training on forklift.
  • Polo's Pantry: Grant was used for equipment, including dollies, a pallet jack, refrigerated truck rental, hiring a truck driver and fuel costs.
  • Seeds of Hope (project of The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of LA): Grant was used for equipment, including hand trucks, pallets, compost bins and forklift certification.
  • Watts Labor Community Action Committee: Grant was used for equipment to store/move large amounts of food, staff training and certifications.
  • L.A. Family Housing Corporation: Grant was used for refrigerators, pallet jacks, dollies, safety equipment (boots, back braces), training for staff certifications and an Inventory Management System.
  • Islamic Center of Southern California: Grant was used on equipment and a contractor/construction to build out food pantry storage.
  • FEAST: The grant was used for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), a refrigerator, foldable carts, incentives for volunteers, marketing, a volunteer management system, training for staff and cold storage rental.
  • Mutual Aid Action Los Angeles (Fiscal Sponsor- Hunger Action LA): The grant was used to purchase a truck.
  • Unión de Vecinos de Pico Aliso: The grant was used for equipment, including refrigerators, pallet jacks, dollies and laptops, as well as training courses and office supplies.

The macro grants were awarded to FEAST, Hollywood Food Coalition, and FoodCycle LA. These recipients will use the funding to:

  • FEAST: This collaborative will work to enhance the value of food recovery/distribution by pairing healthy food with community support (via sharing circles) and wellness/nutrition education at churches, food pantries and community partner sites. Project beneficiaries include food insecure families in South LA living at/below the poverty line, experiencing higher rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, and depression compared to food secure households. The project addresses the missing nutrition education to support healthy food consumption. Barriers to using distributed food include lack of familiarity and knowledge of how to prepare new/fresh foods, and inadequate social support. Their goal is twofold: increase the volume of food distributed, and provide nutrition/wellness education and resources to enhance the benefits of receiving healthy food.
  • Hollywood Food Coalition: This collaborative will be creating a food recovery and distribution warehouse that houses a food recovery agency and a food distribution organization under one roof. Over the course of the grant, they will also bring food generators into the Hub. This innovative model increases efficiency and collaboration, providing needed infrastructure for food producers and recovery groups to work together. Their collaboration provides a new framework that for-profit food producers can plug into and achieve their economic and social-impact missions.
  • FoodCycle LA: This collaborative will work with Strong-Fargas of Mount Salem Baptist Church, to build a physical hub facility in South Los Angeles to increase access to healthy, wholesome food. This collaborative project will bring much needed food support to an area with a critical need and will incorporate additional educational opportunities by building on existing community connections. The success of this Alliance can serve as a model for future partnerships.

FOOD RESCUE-TRANSPORTATION SERVICES PILOT PROGRAM

LASAN created its own food rescue programs. The Food Rescue-Transportation Services Pilot Program provided a way for small non-profit food rescue organizations to either receive donations in order to feed the underserved in their areas or ensure delivery of surplus edible food to other FROs for the people they serve. The program began making deliveries in September 2022 and very successfully ended in June 2023.

LASAN partnered with Food Cycle LA, a non-profit food rescue service organization to provide funding for:

Food Rescue Transportation
  • 2 electric delivery vans,
  • 2 drivers, and
  • 1 administrative staff person to provide reporting, outreach and education, and routing services
The program resulted in:
  • 1,843 pick-ups/deliveries,
  • distributed 749,807 pounds of food or 624,839 meals,
  • drove 19,100 miles across Los Angeles,
  • added 98 new donors, and 84 new non-profit organizations