COSTA MESA (CBSLA) — With many residents unemployed or furloughed due to coronavirus shutdowns, more communities are coming together to support their neighbors.
In Costa Mesa, a long line formed Thursday in an IKEA parking lot where free food was being handed out to the city’s most vulnerable families and others at risk of going hungry.
“There’s a lot of people who need help right now. The unemployment rate is going out of control. This is really good coming together and helping each other out,” said Long Beach resident Dante Cruz.
The need for food and groceries is so great, that cars pulled into the IKEA parking lot an hour before the drive-thru food handouts began.
The distribution line was staffed with an army of volunteers.
“I just like helping people and seeing them be happy and I like giving to others,” said volunteer Sophie Lopez.
The donation line was done by invitation only and people were asked to register online.
Costa Mesa city leaders said they prioritized those most in need and those in their city.
“We got asked as I was walking through the lines over and over again, ‘When are you doing this again?’ I think that’s indicative of how many have lost their jobs and how many people are food insecure right now,” said Costa Mesa city councilmember Andrea Marr.
The food came from Orange County’s community action partnership.
The people who showed up are among the county’s newest unemployed.
“Both of my parents are unemployed so it helps a lot to get food for the week, for the month,” said Valeria Ramirez.
For the 1,100 served, the overwhelming sentiment was gratitude.