Emergency food and community resource program in Los Angeles
Many Solo Moms struggle to put food on the table. Sometimes it seems like the monthly choice is between healthy food and keeping the lights on! It should not be that way. Don’t be afraid to seek help.
In the Los Angeles area, the SOVA Community Food and Resource Program is a beacon of hope that serves more than 12,000 people per month. Sova means “eat and be satisfied” in Hebrew. The food banks are run by the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, an organization dedicated to providing “vital services to people of all ages, ethnicities and religions since 1854.” SOVA is dedicated to respecting the dignity of those who need help.
Every family is allowed to come to the food bank once each calendar month. You select your own four- to five-day supply of food, and SOVA tries to satisfy special dietary requirements as well as provide fresh produce and (when possible) dairy, fresh poultry, and meat. SOVA also distributes personal-care items, such as soap, toothpaste, razors, and diapers.
SOVA tries to make the process as easy as possible. You must fill out an Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) form, confirm that your income is below the limits established by SOVA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, complete a short application form, and show official photo identification of each adult family member and birth certificates for the children.
Solo Moms can discuss their needs at the Resource Center with a volunteer, who can also direct them to other services, such as medical, dental, legal, housing, utility-bill assistance, and child care. (There is a Resource Center located within each SOVA food-pantry facility.) In addition, each SOVA food pantry has professionals in social work, job counseling, and enrollment in the food stamps and Medi-Cal programs throughout the year.
There are three SOVA pantries with varying hours. It is recommended that first-time clients get there when the pantry first opens, as the line can be long. There is a Children’s Corner where kids can sit and read and even take home a few books when they leave.
- Know which pantries in your area can help you provide food for your family.
- Come prepared with proper documentation (such as proof of employment, photos of adult family members, and birth certificates of your children), and ask about additional services the pantry or partner organizations offer.
Margot Kessler, a screen and television writer living in Los Angeles, is the sporadically witty Solo Mom of two lovely daughters.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.