Backyard Bounty Is Back, Fighting Hunger Right in Our Community

Backyard Bounty feeds the hungry

In past years, the green thumbs among us have brought their surplus produce to church on Sundays and the Hunger Task Force has distributed donations to organizations fighting hunger in our community. During this time when we are not able to congregate, food insecurity among our neighbors is greater than ever. Hunger Task Force member McCartney Hutchinson is spearheading a revival of Backyard Bounty to provide a pickup service (contact-free), collecting extra produce and other donations and dropping them at local agencies.

Grass Roots Neighbors Fights Hunger in Playa del ReyOur first recipient group is Grass Roots Neighbors in Playa Del Rey. They are a local volunteer organization focused on meeting the needs of those that are experiencing a housing or food crisis. Founded by Stephanie and Vlad Popesce, Grass Roots Neighbors is a lifeline for the households they serve with regular food deliveries. With a long waiting list, demand is easily double what they can currently serve. They are in urgent need of increased donations.

In addition to produce, Grass Roots Neighbors welcomes pantry staples, personal care and baby items, and cleaning supplies. Of course, cash donations are gratefully received.

Rice/ Beans
Pasta
Pasta Sauce
Canned Goods (tuna, chili, etc)
Oil
Canned fruits and veggies
Cereal/ Oatmeal
Condiments
Baby formula
Snacks – granola bars, chips, cookies
Toilet Paper
Paper Towels
Laundry Detergent
Disinfectant (Lysol, Clorox, Bleach)
Hand and body soaps
Shampoo and Conditioner
Toothbrushes and toothpaste

To donate your produce or other grocery items, email hunger@uusm.org to schedule a contact-free pickup.

Community Services Unlimited Produce Bags

UUSM’s long-term relationship with Community Services Unlimited (CSU) is flourishing during the pandemic. About 20 Westside friends and congregants pick up deliveries of CSU’s locally grown, organic produce bags every Friday in Santa Monica, which supports sales of half-price produce to South LA residents. For more information on the great work that CSU does in in its community, and their partnership with UUSM, see this month’s Generous Congregation article.

In addition to pickups, everyone is welcome to drop off donations for the Backyard Bounty project, produce or other, at the CSU Friday-afternoon pickup point in Santa Monica. Email hunger@uusm.org for the address.

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, food insecurity is surging across the US and right here in Los Angeles. It’s especially the case for employees in the retail, restaurant, entertainment, and hospitality service industries, where thousands of workers — who often live paycheck to paycheck — have been laid off. In other cases, parents of young children and certain at-risk individuals are forced to miss work. Most of us are fortunate enough to not have to choose between rent and food. Let’s help our neighbors in need.

McCartney Hutchinson
Member, Hunger Task Force

Backyard Bounty delivers produce to hungry neighbors

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