SANTA MONICA — Venice Family Clinic, a non-profit that has been providing free and healthy food in Santa Monica since the beginning of COVID-19, announced on August 11 an expansion of its free food program to Culver City.
“Food is medicine and that is why Venice Family Clinic committed itself to provide fresh and healthy food to our patients – and with the COVID-19 outbreak, to the broader community,” said Rigoberto A. Garcia II, the director of health at Venice Family Clinic.
In Santa Monica, the clinic, located at 2509 Pico Boulevard, serves around 1,500 people every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon. Recently peaking at 1,700 people served in a day, the program has grown increasingly popular as in February the event would only serve around 225 people per day.
On August 13, the Venice Family Clinic began its service providing food at their Culver City location. Located at 4700 Inglewood Boulevard, the free food program will be offered on the second and fourth Thursday of every month.
The Venice Family Clinic has already been providing food at this location to nearly 200 pregnant, pediatric, and diabetic patients for several months. The expansion of the program at Culver City will be able to provide food to 1,500 people each day of the program.
“The pandemic has greatly increased the need for food for people who have lost their jobs or seen their income reduced because they’re working fewer hours. We expect the needs will grow as this health crisis continues, and we are pleased we can be there to help our patients and the community,” said Garcia.
Originally, the Santa Monica program only provided the food program bi-weekly, but since the surge of new clients due to COVID-19 the program has shifted to a weekly occurrence. Garcia has said that 60% of the new people receiving food are new clients, and 25% are not Venice Family Clinic patients.
In a press release announcing the expansion to Culver City, Venice Family Clinic thanked their food provider, Food Forward. Every week Food Forward collects over 500,000 pounds of surplus produce from fruit trees, farmers markets, and LA wholesale produce markets. Since the pandemic’s start, Venice Food Clinic has distributed 170,000 pounds of food thanks to the support of Food Forward.
For more information on the Venice Family Clinic and free food programs visit venicefamilyclinic.org.