Updated: Mar 26
The Covid-19 pandemic caused many residents financial hardships. Ultimately leading them to prioritize between paying their rent, paying for insurance or putting food on the table for their families. This produced an increased demand for the Free Food Program run by University Apartments South Resident Association (UASRA).
UASRA Green Coordinators, Vivian Prak and Veronica Volzone, worked together to expand and improve the program in a number of ways all
while complying with the latest CDC guidelines. Most notably, they established a robust volunteer network that coordinates deliveries and distribution across the five large apartment complexes comprising University Apartments South (UAS) which is made up of 1,601 units. They added a text notification and appointment system which reaches over 700 residents. Also developed a partnership with FoodCycle, which brings food near or after its use-by date. Between December 15, 2019 and August 29, 2020 a total of 74,164 lbs. of food has been rescued, the equivalent to 61,803 meals. From Janaury 1, 2021 to March 25, 2021 a total of 16,639 lbs of food has been redistributed within the UAS community, the equivalent to 13,866 meals. In collaboration with UCLA Housing and the Office of Residential Life, UASRA secured refrigerated storage which allows for more equitable distribution amongst the entire UAS community.
This program serves as education for the community about the problem of food waste, the importance of composting, and living sustainably. Many residents constantly express their gratitude and appreciation for this program and the individuals that make it possible. Everyone involved is humbled knowing that the Free Food Program helps fill a gap for the many residents having a hard time during these unprecedented times.
As the pandemic continues to hit hard across the UAS community, the need continues to grow. This is why at March's General Assembly Meeting, the President proposed to add 2 Green Coordinator Assistant positions. This motion was seconded by Sawtelle D Unit Representative. The General Assembly voted and approved the motion. We invited the 2 candidates who were selected by the Green Coordinator and the UASRA Board. Both candidates have been long time volunteers who have put countless hours of hard work and dedication to the program. We officially appointed Matt Gerber to be the Sepulveda Green Coordinator Assistant and Carolina Tapia to be the Sawtelle Green Coordinator Assistant. There is always room for more volunteers. The frequency of food distributions greatly varies and depends on the availability of our volunteer team. When we have more volunteers available to receive food and distribute the more we are able to accept from our partners at FoodCycle. If you are interested in joining the volunteer team please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org