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Tue, Jul

LA's Free Senior Meal Program to End, Leaving Thousands at Risk

LOS ANGELES

SENIOR LIVING - Los Angeles’ Emergency Rapid Response Senior Meals program, which provides free weekly meals to seniors, is set to end in August. Efforts to extend funding were stalled by the City Council due to budget concerns, affecting over 5,450 seniors and erasing a waitlist of 1,300. Dominic Engels of Revolution Foods expressed disappointment, highlighting the city's high food insecurity among seniors. Councilmember Heather Hutt emphasized the program's role in preventing homelessness and urged thoughtful solutions, while alternatives like senior centers and food banks are being considered for affected individuals.

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield recommended sending the motion back to the Budget, Finance, and Innovation Committee, emphasizing the importance of following proper budgetary procedures. Council President Paul Krekorian agreed, warning that allocating such a substantial amount of money without proper agenda could violate state law. The City Council ultimately decided to return the motion to committee and instructed the Department of Aging to develop a transition plan for those affected by the program's closure.

The plight of seniors in Los Angeles highlights a critical need for food services, as many elderly individuals face food insecurity due to limited income, mobility issues, and health concerns. The closure of the Emergency Rapid Response Senior Meals program exacerbates this issue, leaving over 5,450 seniors without essential weekly meals. With Los Angeles housing the largest concentration of food-insecure seniors in the nation, the end of this program could force many to choose between basic needs like food, rent, and medication, increasing their vulnerability to homelessness and health complications.

Many seniors rely on programs like Meals on Wheels, local senior centers, and food banks, but these resources often struggle to meet the high demand. The challenge is compounded by transportation barriers and long waitlists, making it difficult for seniors to access regular, nutritious meals. Community advocates and program partners stress the urgent need for sustainable funding and support to ensure that vulnerable older adults do not go hungry.

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