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Westside Food Bank Donors Can Provide 2-for-1 Meals

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By Lookout Staff

May 15, 2023 -- Those who donate to the Santa Monica-based Westside Food Bank (WSFB) will see their donations matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000, through the end of June, agency officials announced last week.

The Food Bank's Annual Phantom Dinner -- which for 27 years has replaced a traditional fundraising gala -- will also match recurring donations, officials said.

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A $1 donation supplies four nutritious meals for "food-insecure children, adults, and seniors living in West Los Angeles County," according to the Food Bank.

Recurring donations ensures recipients "will have enough food to eat when they need it," WSFB officials said.

“Hunger is an urgent need,” Westside President and CEO Genevieve Riutort said. By making a monthly donation, donors are "enabling us to consistently put food on the table for the people who depend on us.”

Made possible by a donation from the Johnny Carson Foundation, this year's donations come in the midst of a food crisis.

At the end of March, CalFresh -- the State's version of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food stamp program -- ended the additional benefits provided since the coronavirus shutdown began three years ago.

More than 1.5 million people living in Los Angeles County lost an average of $82 per month, with families losing up to $200 per month, Food Bank officials said.

“With the loss of these pandemic-era benefits, we are facing a severe escalation in hunger in Westside communities,” Riutort said when the additional benefits ended.

WSFB -- which helps feed more than 112,000 area households -- provided the equivalent of 1.7 million more meals during the pandemic, officials said.

The Santa Monica-based food bank is the primary bulk wholesale food supplier for more than 60 nonprofit social service and faith-based agencies that operate food assistance programs in eight Westside communities, including Santa Monica.

Some 90 percent of the food is distributed through partner agencies with food pantry programs and through five direct service pop-up pantries, WSFB officials said.

The balance is provided through shelters, transitional housing programs, community kitchens, K-12 and college food distribution programs and veterans’ programs.

To donate to Westside Food Bank’s Phantom Dinner, visit

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