Two cans of vegetables. One can of fruit. A jar of peanut butter. A bag of rice. Cereal, milk, and juice. A foil pack of beef and one of chicken. All placed in two bags, then the bags go into red or blue bins. The bins get stacked six deep, five high, on pallets. The stack gets shrink wrapped to hold everything in place. The pallets get moved to the side and stacked atop one another by forklifts, and then they get loaded onto semis and sent out to food distribution centers all over greater L.A.
On Saturday February 21, LASA showed up at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank warehouse facility in Vernon where, for the next two and a half hours, we worked an assembly line shift with other volunteer groups, loading food into bags and bins so that the hungry could be fed. It was hard work. The assembly line pauses for nothing. Our group jumped right in – everyone learned the ropes very quickly, and we were (safe to say) exhausted after our shift. But proud, too: our crew, made up of LASA and a few other groups of young people, put aside enough food for nearly 4000 families! We learned a lot – about food security and insecurity, about assembly line labor, and about a spirit of widespread volunteerism that helps to address some of our region’s most challenging problems. We won’t soon forgot our visit – not the work, not the scale of the operation, not the cheerful labor of Brian (who taught Bill and Doug the ropes of Quality Control, and who volunteers every Saturday, and not the teamwork that matches labor with volunteerism in making a difference to unseen thousands who would otherwise go hungry.
From Vernon, it was a quick ride to Watts Towers. Iconic, beautiful, even moving: these twin towers of “outsider art” reach to the sky out of a modest neighborhood. This is a highlight trip for LASA, as there’s something so powerful and lasting about these collage pieces of iron, cement, and glass.
A very good day for our program!