Corona virus pandemic: the USDA program supplies food banks, creating jobs in Southern California | Instant News

INGLEWOOD, California (KABC) – Just two months ago, Jennifer Dorantes lost her job as a dental assistant due to a coronavirus emergency. But, he quickly switched from filling the crown to quality control at Inglewood’s food factory, Don Lee Farms.

“Temperature must be good, weight must be good, everything must be perfect. Food must be of good quality so we can send it,” said Dorantes, who works at Don Lee Farms at a cheaper price. than two months.

With so much in Southern California losing jobs, demand at the food bank has skyrocketed, up 80 percent at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank alone. Food shortages are not a problem, but the supply chain is disrupted.

“The whole market has shifted as we know. Restaurants are closing. Retail is up and processors need tools to return quickly which is not always possible because demand is shifting drastically. With the entry of the agriculture department, they get food flowing again to people who really need it, “said Donald Goodman, president of Don Lee Farms.

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Thanks to the coronavirus aid package endorsed by Congress, the Department of Agriculture is given $ 3 billion dollars for the Farmer Food Box Program for Families, paying farmers for their surplus food and distributing it to food banks.

Don Lee Farms is one of the companies that were awarded a multimillion-dollar contract by the USDA to produce 20 pounds of food and they feed 1 million people per day. This program has led to jobs for people like Haxel Melgar, who was laid off from a Beverly Hills restaurant because of a pandemic.

“I’m ready for anything. It turns out it’s good because I really help others. I know I made a difference in providing food for people during this crisis,” said Haxel Melgar, a new employee at Don Lee Ranch.

“The doors are completely closed at their last job, that doesn’t mean it will stop you. You have to keep working hard and it doesn’t matter if it’s not in the same environment,” Dorantes said.

“I am very happy that we can hire employees who have been neglected so far. We are an important workplace. Food supply is very important. They know they come to a safe work environment and they can get jobs that they usually don’t have and work for purposes good, “Goodman said.

The contract currently runs until 30 June, and the USDA can choose to extend it depending on funding. The second aid package could also be a way to expand Farmers to the Food Box Program family if congress takes that route.

For more information on how to find work in the food manufacturing industry in Southern California, visit

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