VENICE, CA — UCLA Monday announced a partnership with the Venice Family Clinic in which the university’s dining staff will provide 13,000 free meals per week to the clinics’ patients and their families.
The Venice Family Clinic, which has sites in Venice, Santa Monica, Mar Vista and Hawthorne, will receive healthy, ready-to-eat meals five days a week from UCLA, whose staff have fewer students to feed on campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced most classes to be conducted online.
The clinic’s staff and volunteers will distribute the meals to low- income patients being served at the clinic. Each qualifying family or individual will receive four meals per week, which will consist of a pound of healthy food.
UCLA Dining Service’s executive chef helped design special menus to address health needs of patients and provide options, such as blackened fish with pineapple salsa or leg of lamb with roasted potatoes.
“We know our patients, who have lost income and are dealing with the effects of the pandemic, are struggling to feed their families,” Venice Family Clinic CEO Elizabeth Benson Forer said. “This innovative collaboration with UCLA means that we can ease our patients’ worries and ensure they have the food they need to stay healthy.”
The food will be paid for by donations to the clinic, while UCLA will provide the labor to prepare and deliver the meals. UCLA tuition funds will not be used, officials said.
“We’re proud to serve families in the community through a partnership that helps keep people healthy and fed during the pandemic,” said Joey Martin, senior executive chef of UCLA Housing and Hospitality. “Working with the Venice Family Clinic magnifies the good both organizations can do. UCLA’s commitment to its staff and to the community is part of who we are as an institution. Working together, we can help many more people than we could alone.”
The clinic is accepting donations to keep the meals going, and they are currently planning to continue the partnership through mid-January or longer.
“It’s something we’re piloting and it’s working,” Vanessa Fernandez told Patch.
– City News Service and Patch Editor Nicole Charky contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on the Venice-Mar Vista Patch