UNITE HERE Local 11 Leads Way With Farm Box Program

UNITE HERE Local 11, in partnership with Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA), Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Cedars-Sinai, launched a Farm Box Program – a free healthy, fresh fruit and vegetable giveaway service for 1,100 families experiencing financial insecurity during COVID-19.

UNITE HERE Local 11 members, many of whom have been laid off or had their hours reduced due to the COVID-19 crisis, along with families living in public housing within South Los Angeles, received the boxes.

“The food I received today will help me put food on my family’s table.” said Yanet Palacios, Uniform Attendant at the LINE Hotel. “I am happy that my union is fighting hard for us during this time.”

Each box included a week’s worth of fresh seasonal produce including a dozen eggs, 5-7 varieties of vegetables, 10 pounds of oranges, plenty of berries, and information about local public nutrition benefit and incentive programs.

“We are proud to partner with Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas and provide this vital resource to our members and their families.” said Susan Minato Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.

With the recent closure of some farmers markets due to the health crisis, SEE-LA is providing procurement of wholesale produce from their network of regional family farms to create the ultimate “farm boxes” of healthy food.

“During this pandemic, families are facing unprecedented financial distress. This partnership is meant to ease the burdens of families across South Los Angeles, providing them with healthy food options that they can cook at home, said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “In turn, local farmers have the chance to distribute their produce and keep their businesses afloat. It’s a in-win for all.”

Cedars-Sinai, the Office of Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, and the Fredric D Rosen and Nadine Schiff Family Foundation provided financial sponsorship for the initiative.

Los Angeles Football Club, Banc of California Stadium and Exposition Park supported the effort through a donation of the site and equipment. LAFC has also facilitated the donation of packaged food, including a variety of CLIFF Bars, that will go into the box, as well as personal protective gear for the 50 volunteers, affiliated with Cedars-Sinai and UNITE HERE Local 11, that distributed the boxes.

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