By Bill Hendrickson
Over 200 families stocked up on fresh produce, milk, lemonade and shelf staples at a food giveaway on Friday, Mar. 19, held in the parking lot at St. Dominic’s in Eagle Rock.
The food giveaway was sponsored by NELA Community, a nonprofit organization formed this year by six residents of Northeast L.A. whose aim is to help the community in those areas where help is needed most. To that end, making sure that senior citizens and low-income families have enough food is a priority of NELA Community — and the food giveaway was a step in the right direction.
“We did not end hunger but we sure put a dent in it,” said Cherryl Weaver, who founded NELA Community along with Matthew Jimenez, Amanda Matti, Suzy Vasquez, Karen Staron and Ken Walsh.
Donations and volunteers made the event a success, said Weaver. Among those contributing were St. Dominic’s parish, the office of NELA’s City Councilmember Kevin de León, L.A. Food Bank, Subway, Alta-Dena Certified Dairy, Jake’s Barber Shop and Food Forward. Suzy Q Gets Crafty Too provided T-shirts and a cadre of helpful Honda guys also showed up and pitched in alongside numerous individuals from the community, from teens to adults, working people to retirees.
The food giveaway was the third and largest outreach so far for NELA Community, whose members started out discussing local issues on Facebook before meeting in-person (socially distanced) to figure out what they could do to make a difference. The group’s first effort was a holiday-toy giveaway for children. The second was a Valentine’s Day card distribution to residents of local nursing homes.
Going forward, the group plans to continue to focus on ways to combat hunger and to identify helpful ways to reach out to youth and those suffering from mental illness and drug addiction.