MANHATTAN BEACH, CA — South Bay Food Initiative, a volunteer community organization created by high school students to fight food insecurity in the Los Angeles County area, is looking for volunteers for their upcoming events.
Mira Costa High School students Ryan Rossow, Andrew Cormack and Max Karambles founded the club in 2018 after volunteering on their own at food banks and soup kitchens around L.A., Rossow told Patch. Since then, it has expanded into a community organization.
“When we started the club, we wanted to give kids a chance to help the community and get community services hours, and it’s grown exponentially from there,” he said.
The group was motivated to continue to grow to help solve the problem of food insecurity in L.A., so they decided to turn their volunteer group into a club at Mira Costa High School, Rossow said.
South Bay Food Initiative now has 50 registered volunteer members, as well as dozens of people who sign up for individual service projects. The organization also has “feeder” programs at Redondo Union High School, Palos Verdes High School and Peninsula High School that friends have helped start, he said.
“We’re one of the few organizations in the area that gives volunteers opportunities to help out a cause that’s been overlooked and forgotten,” Rossow said.
Rossow said although many perceive food insecurity as a problem only homeless people or those that live on the poverty line deal with, it “really affects everyone.”
Their volunteers range from young teens to retirees, and the events are “actually really fun, and a great way to spend a Saturday morning,” he said. People all over the South Bay help out — whether it’s donating food, transporting donations to one of the club’s partner programs or attending events to serve meals to those in need, he said.
South Bay Food Initiative partners with groups such as the L.A. Food Bank, Shared Bread and Project Chicken Soup, among others.
“Between the people that I’ve met and the people I’ve been able to help while we try to end food insecurity in the greater L.A. area, it’s a great cause to come help out,” Rossow said.
South Bay Food Initiative has an upcoming volunteer opportunity from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 7. Volunteers must be at least 14, wear close-toed shoes and are encouraged to bring a jacket in case they’re assigned to sort food in a refrigerated space.
For more information, visit the South Bay Food Initiative website.