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Where to Get Financial Assistance, Food and More During the Coronavirus Crisis

A man in a bright yellow reflective safety vest stands behind two boxes stacked on a table. There are also bags of fruit. The man is wearing a mask and looking off to the distance. Behind him is a person wearing a bright orange safety vest and holding a clipboard. Their back is facing the camera and it appears as if they are guiding a line of cars.
Volunteers load free groceries into cars for people experiencing food insecurity due to the coronavirus pandemic, December 1, 2020 in Los Angeles. As of November 2020, food distribution by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has increased by 145% compared to the pre-pandemic levels. | Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images
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The following article was originally republished April 12, 2021 through a collaboration with KPCC and LAist.

Reported and written by: Caitlin Biljan, Caitlin Hernandez, Zoe Ives, Giuliana Mayo, Jessica P. Ogilvie, Nubia Perez, Stefanie Ritoper, Peri Wallent.

Many Angelenos are facing difficulties getting their basic needs met as a result of the rapid changes brought about by the coronavirus. To help, we've compiled this list of resources that are offering financial assistance, food and more. If you have a question (or if you know a resource that should be on this list), please tell us.

This information does not constitute professional/legal advice. Check with individual resources for the most up-to-date information.

General Resources

Free Food

  • Sign up for CalFresh benefits (it's a free, preloaded EBT card that you use for groceries).
  • Use the 211LA FoodFinder map to locate free meals, including those for seniors and kids.
  • Use the Los Angeles Food Bank Pantry Locator to find food pantries and food banks closee to you.
  • Use this LAUSD Grab & Go map to find locations where they offer free meals for students and community members. Anyone who arrives during open hours will be able to receive food.
  • If you can't leave your house and need food or supplies, WDACS offers a Critical Delivery Service. If you have COVID and need to quarantine 14 days at home, you may qualify. You also qualify if you are 60 years and older, or have a permanent or temporary disability. If you need free food, they can bring you emergency dry food boxes or arrange for food bank delivery (if it's a simple pick-up/no-line situation). You can also pre-pay for prescriptions, groceries, restaurant food, cleaning supplies, etc. and they can pick those items up and deliver them to you for free. Call (888) 863-7411 (24 hours in advance is preferred) for delivery service. Get a detailed flyer and visit the WDACS website for more information.
  • People4PeopleLA supplies groceries to "Black and POC, elder and immunocompromised families and individuals." Call (707) 390-0269 (Sundays noon to 4 p.m. and Mondays 2 to 4 p.m.) to make a request.
  • L.A. Dream Center has 22 mobile food bank locations around the Los Angeles area on varying days/times. Any and all are welcome to come get free food. See their website for site times and locations.
  • L.A. County has a list of locations where you can get free food, food delivery and other types of food assistance.
  • If you are elderly or immunocompromised, you can get groceries delivered for free by Zoomers to Boomers, a free grocery delivery service provided by local high school students and young people.
  • Here is a list of LA Area food bank contacts.
  • There are additional food resources in other sections of this guide.

Unemployment Help

  • If you have a frustrating or complex unemployment issue, call the Worker's Rights' Center EDD hotline at (916) 905-1625 to schedule an appointment to talk with their experts. They can help you get answers and movement regarding your EDD situation. We've heard from many people who have said this service really helped.
  • Check out our LAist guide to applying for unemployment.
  • This EDD FAQ page may help you.
  • You can go to the L.A. County COVID-19 Disaster Help Center website, email disasterhelpcenter@lacounty.gov or call 833-238-4450 (weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). They help workers, businesses, nonprofits, renters and landlords navigate available assistance.

Financial Assistance: Restaurant, Food Service, Hospitality

  • The Restaurants Care Resilience Fund provides cash grants of up to $3,500 and a year of support to small restaurants in eight counties in California (including L.A.) with priority given to women and people of color. They also offer hardship grants for servers, cooks and dishwashers. Learn more and apply here (and soon!)
  • If you are in the hospitality industry, you can apply for emergency relief funds via Another Round Another Rally. They have multiple funds including ones meant specifically for people of color. They also offer professional development grants and scholarships.
  • If you are a food service employee and have experienced an unforeseen hardship, you can apply for various emergency funds shared by The California Restaurant Association.
  • Southern Smoke has an emergency relief program for "those employed by or own restaurants or bars or are employed by a restaurant or bar supplier that are faced unforeseen expenses that cannot or will not be covered by insurance."
  • One Fair Wage is offering free cash assistance to restaurant workers, delivery drivers and other tipped service workers.
  • If you are a food and beverage service employee with children and are facing a health crisis and need support, you can apply for a grant from Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE). Qualifying events include but are not limited to (child or parent): COVID diagnosis, medical condition, injury/accident, death of immediate family, domestic abuse, natural disaster and more. Their grants cover medical bills for children, gas cards, groceries, clothing, medical supplies, therapies, utilities, rent and mortgage, and other essential needs. Apply for a CORE grant on their website or email info@COREgives.org.

Financial Assistance: Entertainment, Music, the Arts

  • Apply for emergency financial assistance through the Actors Fund of America (they have partnered with other entertainment industry orgs). Funds are available for union and non-union workers in entertainment and the performing arts. They also have an unemployment resources page.
  • The Motion Picture and Television Fund administers relief funds and supportive services (including help with health insurance, unemployment, mental health assistance, rent, food, and other essentials) for various entertainment industry guild and group members. To get help, email info@mptf.com or call (323) 634-3888 (if you're under 65) or (323) 634-3866 (if you're over 65 or need food delivery).
  • If you're a music professional, you can apply for a COVID-19 relief grant for immediate financial support through Music Health Alliance. They also offer health insurance information and an emergency resource database with links to more funds. You can also apply for financial assistance from the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.
  • If you're a freelance artist (including but not limited to an actor, designer, producer, technician, stage manager, musician, composer, choreographer, visual artist, filmmaker, craft artist, teaching artist, dancer, writer, playwright, photographer, etc.), this aggregated list of free resources may help you.
  • See a large list of emergency funding and artist resources from I Care if You Listen.

Financial Assistance: Child Care Providers

Financial Assistance: Debt Relief and Interest-Free Loans

  • Savi and Student Debt Crisis are offering help to folks who are having trouble paying their student loans because of the coronavirus' impact on their income.
  • If you live in L.A. or Ventura, you can receive a 0-percent-interest, no-fee loan from the Jewish Free Loan Association. They offer interest-free loans for anything from everyday expenses such as rent and child care, to lost wages and wellness. You do not need to be Jewish to apply. Guarantors may be required.

Financial Assistance: Stimulus Packages

Rent Relief and Eviction Resources

For Children and Families

  • Child Care Alliance Los Angeles can help you find child care. Some programs include state preschool, child care subsidies through CalWORKs and federally funded Head Start and Early Head Start.
  • Explore a map of providers that shows available spots near you for both private-pay and subsidized child care. It's updated twice a week, so be sure to call the place you're interested in first.
  • If you are a child care provider, you can go to the Child Care Heroes site to link to the latest updates on operating guidelines, vaccine information, and financial and mental health support.
  • Call the LAUSD Student and Family Wellness hotline at (213) 241-3840 (weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) for support with mental health, health insurance, food, housing and more.
  • See a list of family resources from the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools.
  • Get a list of resources from First 5 LA for ECE professionals and LAUSD students/families that can help with virtual learning, food, child care and more.
  • Get free tutoring (English and math, grades K-12) through the Southeast Community Foundation Enrichment Tutoring Academy. Learn more and register here.
  • Check out our giant LAist guide of fun and educational online activities for kids.

Mental Health Help

Free Medication Delivery

  • Rite Aid offers free delivery for eligible prescriptions.
  • Walgreens offers free delivery for eligible prescription and purchases on Walgreens.com.
  • CVS offers free delivery of prescriptions and everyday essentials.

For Those Unhoused

For Those Undocumented

How to Help Others

  • L.A. County offers suggestions ranging from delivering food and giving blood, to doing wellness checks and assembling hygiene kits. Learn more
  • The City of Los Angeles also has a page with opportunities ranging from food bank help and meal delivery, to neighborhood check-ins and virtual volunteering. Learn more.
  • See a large list of ways you can support nonprofits, restaurants, stores, seniors, pet shelters and more via The Washington Post (no paywall).
  • A while back, we shared a long list of ways you can help feed first responders. The list hasn't been updated in a while, so check in with each program for the most up-to-date information.
  • Be a Neighbor connects community members with those who need volunteers (and vice versa).
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