JFS SOVA Changing to Virtual Food Drives to Provide Fresh and Healthy Food to Clients
With the rise of food and living costs, more and more people are turning to the JFS SOVA Community Food & Resource Program for support. It is estimated that approximately one in every 5 people in Los Angeles are affected by food insecurity. Now more than ever, it is essential for us to provide fresh and healthy food to LA families all year long. For this reason, we are reimagining our food drives to be more effective and compassionate.
We recently conducted a survey of more than 1,000 clients. Its major takeaway: 90% of clients want fresh, and healthy food.
JFS SOVA strives to meet the ever-growing needs of the LA families who depend on SOVA’s food pantries and services. For decades, traditional food drives helped us feed thousands of people in LA, however after much consideration, we have decided to end our practice of traditional food drives in favor of virtual food drives. Traditional food drives do not always bring in a wide variety of food choices and supplies. Virtual food drives are an innovative strategy that will help us improve food equity by raising funds to procure the exact type of foods clients not only want but need. Thanks to our close relationships with food suppliers, every dollar we raise becomes $5 of purchasing power, allowing us to procure exponentially more food than traditional food drives could ever bring in.
The key findings of the survey helped us learn that more than half of our clients live with chronic illnesses exacerbated by a poor diet. Food insecurity is often associated with a poor diet due to increased consumption of high calorie dense foods, such as fast foods, which are usually more affordable and accessible among low-income communities. More than 65% of our clients live with high blood pressure or heart disease. Many of our clients reported other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, and several autoimmune diseases. The majority of our clients follow special diets such as low sugar, low fat, low sodium, and gluten free. The most requested healthy foods among our clients were fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins, dairy, and grains.
We know how much traditional food drives have meant to our supporters throughout the community. We realize that they are opportunities to bring people together to support JFS SOVA and the people we serve. But JFS SOVA must adapt to be better equipped to meet the growing needs of thousands of people and families living in LA. Looking ahead, we hope our supporters continue to rally behind our virtual food drives.
If you are interested in donating to the JFS SOVA Virtual Food Drive, please visit: support.jfsla.org/sova. To learn more about JFS SOVA volunteer opportunities, please visit jfsla.org/volunteer or contact Joyce Williams, Director of Volunteers and Training, at 323-556-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you or anyone know of a person who may be struggling with food insecurity, please refer them to our services and website at www.jfsla.org/program/food-pantries/.