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Thanksgiving 2020: “No one goes hungry in Los Angeles County”

“No one goes hungry in Los Angeles county.” – Los Angeles Regional Food Bank vision statement

Meet Will Tran ’23 (right in foto) a new member of the FEMBA family, along with Staff Sergeant Minter, California Army National Guard (left) who was instrumental in getting the troops rolling

Will Tran ’23 has been involved with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank (LARFB) in some capacity for the last five years. For three years, he has been at the Commerce location where dry food kits are produced – primarily for seniors and children (these photos give you a sense of the contents of each box including what the boxes themselves look like). During this time, he has done plenty of offsite distributions where these kits are handed out to locals in the community (Lincoln Heights senior center and Barnes Park in Monterey Park are two of his favorite sites). He works both sides of the operation: production and distribution.

What a food box includes.
Helping ease hunger in Los Angeles County, one box at a time

Covid-19 entirely changed the way they do things.

Nearly overnight, demand increased by 60%. Demand reached such a level that 60+ soldiers of the Army National Guard were stationed here from mid-April until late-September to meet quotas. Currently, they have a squadron of Air Force National Guard airmen with a volunteer work force from All Hands and Hearts to help alleviate the pressure. The number of volunteers they are receiving is not enough to meet demands.

We get by with a little help from our friends…

This week, quota increased by 25% due to the Thanksgiving holiday plus the heightened Covid situation. Panic mode has again set in. Residents are anticipating the second Covid wave.

LARFB ran a food distribution today near the Commerce warehouse to get a measure on how dire the situation is. The surveyor noted that cars stretched a length of 1.8 miles in wait. The average wait time to get a week’s supply of food was roughly 45 minutes. Pre-Covid the wait at most distribution centers never exceeded 15 minutes. All cars could fit into an average sized grocery store parking lot.

So what does Will do? 

Written on his work shirt are the words “Fighting Hunger. Giving Hope.” That’s what he does. Never in his life has he worked with greater passion, more clarity, or definitive purpose than now. 

Will spent his entire adult life working in hospitality. Doing so trained him for this exact moment. While the setting is different, he is still surrounded by food and people. His purpose is still to feed people. 

“In my industry, we have a term called “push”. Push means working with a sense of urgency and purpose. Every shift I take, I push. I push to the end of the line. I push to the end of the shift. I push to the end of the day. Because I believe that now more than ever, we need to take care of each other.  I also believe that we can.” -Will Tran ’23

This Thanksgiving, count the blessings of your family and friends. And also be grateful that FEMBA has a person like Will Tran ’23, making the world better, one food box at a time.

About the MBA Insider Blog

The UCLA Anderson MBA Insider’s Blog offers an inside perspective on topics relevant to prospective MBA students and others interested in learning about UCLA Anderson’s world-class MBA program, faculty and curriculum. The blog is managed by members of the full-time MBA program’s Admissions Committee, with posts by our Admissions staff, students, alumni and guests.