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Friday, May 13, 2022

By Dennis J. Freeman

 

COMPTON—People and families are still struggling. It’s been two years since the arrival of Covid-19. The pandemic has ravaged families; economically, mentally and in other ways.

For students and their families, it has been a war of the unforgiving with many going hungry or not having enough resources to feed themselves or their loved ones.

Two years after the pandemic pumped the halt button on the American way of life, making ends meet and putting food into the bellies of others still face huge challenges as the homeless population has skyrocketed. Compton College and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank have committed to doing something about the problem.

The two entities have formed a partnership that will help bring food to students at Compton College and to the community at least once a month.

On Tuesday, May 10, hundreds of vehicles formed a long line as they made their way to Compton College to get some of the goodies being passed out by workers from the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank as well as staff and faculty members and a handful of volunteers.

The event was billed as a Farmer’s Market on Wheels with food being passed out to drivers while they waited in their vehicles. The thought behind the partnership was initially to help students but evolved into assisting the community as a whole, said Daniel Quintero, program coordinator at Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.   

“We started the local partnership somewhere last year, although we came right in on the Covid side,” Quintero said. “It’s a grander scale, the drive-thru sides. We’re here once a month. I believe it’s the second Tuesday of every month…we still help students, but we are also open to the community in general and trying to help anybody in need. This is seen as a community event.”

For Lydell Willis, this project hits close to home. That’s because Willis serves as the director of Student Success in Basic Needs at Compton College. Willis said this is about feeding the students as much as anything. “In the beginning, it was about feeding our students,” said Willis. “We also knew that [the] Los Angeles Regional Food Bank had partnered with other community colleges in the area, so we wanted to bring it to Compton to serve our students and community as well.”

Willis said the partnership has proved to be very beneficial to the students at Compton College.

“It’s been helpful for the students and the community,” Willis said. “It’s good to see that more is bigger every time we do it. Like more people come out.”

According to Quintero, the heavier the demand the more product the food bank prepares and brings out. For Tuesday, there was enough food and other items to supply as many as 380 households, he said.

“It’s depending on the demands,” Quintero said. “If the demand goes up, then the supply will go with it.”