Mayor Eric Garcetti has partnered with the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles (MFLA) to announce the Grocery Intervention for Vital Emergency Needs (GIVEN) initiative that will provide thousands of Angelenos in need with $300 in cash assistance to help purchase groceries and other essential items.
“Our most vulnerable neighbors can’t wait for the end of the pandemic to get relief, and there is no greater gift we can give our fellow Angelenos right now than the ability to put food on the table and cover basic necessities,” Garcetti said.
“GIVEN is the perfect present this holiday season—a chance to lift up people in a time of dire need and make a small but meaningful difference as too many families come face to face with the devastating health and economic impacts of COVID-19.”
MFLA combines the best of private, philanthropic, nonprofit and government resources to take on the city’s most pressing challenges.
The fund reaches across LA, enhancing the overall quality of life for Angelenos by sponsoring programs that address acute and long-term needs, insisting on rigorous standards to provide measurable impact.
“At the beginning of the pandemic the nimbleness and the flexibility that we have as a nonprofit organization allowed us to quickly partner with the city for standup programs like Project Safe Haven to help expand the shelter programs for domestic violence victims and expand the number of senior meals delivered to help out seniors when the first day of the at home order came down,” said Deidre Lind, president and CEO of MFLA.
Lind said through other initiatives during the pandemic, such as the Angeleno Card, which “provided direct cash assistance to Angelenos in need back in the springtime,” MFLA learned “how important access to cash was for people who are in a crisis situation.”
Toward the beginning of the pandemic, Garcetti and MFLA activated the Angeleno Card Initiative to provide direct cash assistance to more than 105,000 Angelenos in need. The initiative helped raise more than $36,000 to give back to the community.
“From the Angeleno Card program that we launched earlier this year, we know that more than 70% of the funds were used directly for food or household essentials by the recipients,” Lind said. “We know that this money and the big resources are being used for very important purposes.”
MFLA contributed $550,000 to GIVEN with the goal of raising $3 million through donations to provide a one-time amount of $300 to at least 10,000 households.
GIVEN builds on a series of initiatives developed by Garcetti and the city to support the community that has received limited federal assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through a partnership with the city’s FamilySource Centers and its network of community-based, nonprofit partners, GIVEN has identified more than 11,200 clients at or near the poverty line who have enrolled in and qualified for services. GIVEN will be focused on supporting those households.
According to one of the reports completed by the USC Dornsife Public Exchange regarding food insecurity in LA County, 6.4% of people who were food secure were likely to get COVID-19 while 11.6% were likely to be infected if they were food insecure.
At the beginning of this month, Garcetti worked with MFLA in announcing the Secure Emergency Relief for Vulnerable Employees (SERVE) initiative to provide 4,000 local food-service employees with a one-time $800 stipend.
While restaurants continue to have limited service during the pandemic or are completely closed, SERVE will provide assistance to food-service workers such as the dishwashers, cooks, servers and hosts who lost their jobs or had their work hours cut to make it through the holiday season.
Anyone who wishes to donate and help fund the initiatives can visit
“We’re asking for Angelenos who have the resources during this very difficult time for our neighbors to please go to the website and to please take a moment to give,” Lind said.
“Not only will these funds underwrite the GIVEN program, but they will also help support the other programs that we continue to support, one being SERVE, which we launched in earlier December. Another program that was launched earlier in December was ACT, the Angeleno Connectivity Trust, which is providing 18,000 vulnerable students with access to free Wi-Fi. These are students who may have a device from their school but their family is experiencing homelessness. They are foster youth. They are the kids that are falling in and out of connectivity. That program we are continuing just to make sure those kids have access to free Wi-Fi.”