Mojave Desert & Mountan Recycling Authority

California Hunger Doubles During COVID-19 As a New Climate Law Directs Surplus Food to Families

Lines of cars snaked around The Forum arena and all the way around the block in Los Angeles, California, Friday, April 10, to pick up groceries being handed out by a food bank. By Voice of America/KABCHunger in California has doubled, and in some counties has tripled, since the state’s Stay-At-Home order went into effect, according to the California Association of Food Banks. A little-known climate law will soon direct supermarkets, food wholesalers, and other food businesses to send millions of meals to local food rescue organizations instead of dumping surplus food in landfills.The law’s new requirements come at a crisis moment for the state. “We’ve seen up to three times as many people showing up at our food banks since the coronavirus pandemic first began and overall hunger in the state has gone up 113 percent,” said Communications Director of the Association of Food Banks Lauren Lathan Reid.  Demand for Donated Food Has Recently Skyrocketed In communities across the state, the overwhelming demand translates to miles-long lines of cars of cars filled with thousands of people waiting to enter food banks or make their way through pop up, drive-through food distribution lines. Lathan Reid said the hardest-hit counties include Marin, Mono, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Sonoma, where food insecurity has tripled since the start of the pandemic. Hunger in Alameda, Los Angeles, and Santa Clara has increased more than 150 percent.  Cities and counties can help meet this historic surge in demand by proactively implementing local programs to meet the new statewide requirements, which include:• Requiring supermarkets, grocery stores, food service providers, food distributors, and food wholesaler vendors to donate their otherwise wasted food to neighbors in need starting January 1, 2022. • Requiring restaurants of a certain size, hotels, health facilities, large venues and events, state agencies with cafeterias, and K-12 schools to donate