LA ending meal program for senior citizens, but many still struggle for food

When Leo Del Rosario of North Hollywood underwent open heart surgery in 2022, he found himself alone and without resources.

"At that time, I had half a bottle of peanut butter that needed to last four weeks," said Del Rosario. 

The 60-year-old is among thousands of senior citizens in Los Angeles facing food insecurity, unsure of where their next meal is coming from. The creation of the Rapid Response Senior Meal Program was a godsend for Del Rosario. 

He said, "It's a lifesaver, it's a lifeline. Without it, I don't know…"

But, this free weekly meals program, established during the COVID-19 pandemic, will end on Aug. 31st.

"This is a serious problem," said Dominic Engels, CEO of Revolution Foods. "Can you imagine being served meals and then one day expecting that meal to arrive, and it doesn't, leaving the table empty?"

Engels' Revolution Foods is one of several Rapid Response Senior Meal Program providers. "With 5,800 participants today, we have a waiting list of about 1,400 more who aren't even in the program. So, there's clearly a demand here," said Engels.

He explained that the LA City Council canceled the extension of the food program due to budget constraints.

"It's really incumbent upon the city to do something about these folks," said Engels. 

Del Rosario urges LA City officials to reconsider their decision to end this vital program.

"How you take care of your elderly is a reflection of yourself and our society," said Del Rosario