Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas with DCFS Chief Deputy Director Ginger Pryor, Faith Foster Families Network (3FN) Executive Director Nancy Harris pose with volunteers and some of the care packages. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

About 100 South Los Angeles families with young children received free meals, groceries, diapers and hand sanitizers at Operation Love: Care Packages for Families, an event sponsored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas in partnership with several nonprofits and businesses.

Applause for the volunteers. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

“Operation Love emerged from the question: What do families most impacted by this pandemic need?” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said at the event, hosted by Holman United Methodist Church. “Operation Love is our way of showing vulnerable households that we care about their well-being and we are here for them.”

All the families had been referred by Los Angeles County departments, as well as community and faith-based institutions.

Ambyr Rose of Parents in Partnership, a support group for parents in the child welfare system, said, “These care packages are making a difference in the life of children and families and is a reminder that the community is here to support them in times of need.”

Faith Foster Families Network, a collaborative of six-faith based organizations and churches, is overseeing the coordination of Operation Love, a series of four food and diaper distribution events in South LA, Inglewood and Compton. “It is crucial that the faith community is present and providing life sustaining resources for those affected by the child welfare system, some of the most vulnerable in our communities,” Executive Director Nancy Harris said.

A volunteer brings donated diapers to a family in their car at Holman United Methodist Church. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

Staff from the LA County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) were on hand to help families access benefits and to offer their expertise in child welfare and child protection. “Today’s gathering is a visual example of hope in action and the generosity of community partners who care deeply about the well-being of children and families,” DCFS Chief Deputy Director Ginger Pryor said.  “After many weeks of being homebound, perhaps struggling emotionally and economically, this is a welcome and meaningful outpouring of kindness and support for Los Angeles County families.”

The families who received care packages had been referred by various LA County departments as well as faith-based and community organizations. The LA Regional Food Bank provided them with grocery bags while the Good+Foundation provided packages of diapers.

Kilroy Realty purchased to-go meals from Sweetgreen and The Waffle, which do not have dine-in options because of the extended Safer at Home order. The nonprofit Fueling the Fearless coordinated delivery of the meals and showed up with sweet surprises from Little House Confections for volunteers and children with May birthdays.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas flanked by RPP Products SVP for Sales Renard Howard and Dan Luna. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

“As a member of this community, Kilroy Realty Corporation is proud to partner with Operation Love,” said the company’s Senior Planning Manager, Marina Martos Dabel. “Our purchase of more than 1,000 meals helps feed families in need while also supporting local restaurants whose businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We are dedicated to serving nourishment where it is needed most,” said Brooke Baker Kronschnabel, Director of the nonprofit Fueling The Fearless, whose mission is to help struggling restaurants stay afloat while providing nourishment to healthcare heroes, essential workers, and families in need.

RPP Products, an automotive chemicals and lubricants company, began manufacturing hand sanitizers during the pandemic and donated several boxes of them to families.

“Taking care of our fellow Southern California community, especially the homeless and food-insecure, is very important to us,” RPP Products CEO Eric Zwigart said.  “The COVID-19 crisis and need for hand sanitizer will last for a long time, and we are dedicated to producing and donating hand sanitizer for as long as it’s needed.  I want to thank Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’s office for including us in this opportunity to give back.”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas with Kilroy Realty Corporation Senior Planning Manager Marina Martos Dabel, Fueling The Fearless Director Brooke Baker Kronschnabel and volunteers with some of the 1,000 free meals they gave out at Operation Love. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors