Local health organizations recently came together to distribute turkey and pie to Torrance seniors in need ahead of the holidays.
Volunteers from Optum, a healthcare company with clinics in Torrance, gathered in the parking lot of their Del Amo Boulevard clinic on Saturday, November 20—with hundreds of Thanksgiving treats.
“Making sure 400 people have a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving was a heartwarming way to start the holiday season,” wrote one official.
The amount of hunger has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic in the United States and Torrance itself.
Many are now facing the threat of hunger for the first time, as they have lost their jobs or their businesses have closed during the pandemic.
According to the non-profit organization Feeding America, 1 in 8 Americans — about 42 million people — now faces hunger.
And food banks across the country, Feeding America said, are serving 55% more people than before the COVID-19 crisis.
Seniors, typically on fixed income, have long been most at risk of experiencing hunger.
“This year has been very difficult for our community,” said Gabby Gomez, supervisor of patient relations with Optum, who volunteered in the food campaign. “As each car went by, we could highlight handing over turkey and pie to seniors. I’m so glad we’ve been able to help make their holiday a little brighter.”
Optum, UnitedHealthcare, WiderCircle and Scan Health were all participants for Saturday’s Turkey Donation Day organized by SBHIS Insurance Services.
“We are delighted to be participating in this event,” said Dr. Amar Desai, CEO, Optum California. “This is a great opportunity for our community to come together and support our seniors, many of whom are in need of healthy food and may be alone due to extended social distancing measures.
“Our goal is to serve the communities that face the harshest effects of COVID-19,” Desai said. “As part of that commitment, we work with community partners to provide food to individuals who are most vulnerable.”
Optum and partners organized another turkey gift the next day in Downey – where an additional 400 turkeys were distributed to the seniors.