“I’ve lived in LA my whole life, and as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, I knew I wanted to help.”
Volunteer Lisa Nupoff shares her experience distributing food with IsraAID in Los Angeles to vulnerable communities amid the COVID-19 outbreak. I first connected with IsraAID — the international humanitarian aid NGO— this past September, when I spent time in Puerto Rico getting to know the organization and its work through its partnership with REALITY, an initiative of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, which brings together highly influential thinkers and trailblazers to Israel, to elevate their leadership and ignite their ambition to change the world. REALITY and IsraAID implement programming together each year, encouraging these changemakers to learn about the organization’s work, and become advocates for key humanitarian issues.
How can I, too, have a role in supporting communities and healing the world?
Throughout my experience in Puerto Rico learning about IsraAID, I saw how resilient people can be. Despite the havoc that Hurricane Maria wreaked upon the island, communities were still strong, committed to one another, and ready to get involved. This sparked a fire in me and inspired me to ask new questions. How can I, too, have a role in supporting communities and healing the world? I. When I returned from my trip, I got involved with a number of organizations in Los Angeles, supporting those experiencing homelessness and children in foster situations.
When COVID-19 broke out, I was in the process of planning to deploy with IsraAID to either the Bahamas or Colombia for a short-term mission to support IsraAID teams on the ground. Needless to say, that could no longer happen. But instead, I’ve been able to help support urgent needs right here in my hometown. I’ve lived in Los Angeles my whole life, and as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, I knew I wanted to help vulnerable members of my local community. When I found out that IsraAID is organizing volunteers here to pack and distribute food and supplies, I didn’t hesitate — I knew had to be involved.
No one had to suffer through red tape and bureaucracy to get some food.
On the day of my first shift, I arrived at a school in South Los Angeles at 7 AM — very early for me. After our orientation session, we donned face masks and gloves, and got to work. We set up five distribution points, offering both drive through and walk up stations, to ensure that everyone felt safe and comfortable. I helped carry boxes of rice, canned goods, and other key items to the distribution points where other volunteers handed them out.
I was surprised to see how many people rode by on their bike, and said they also needed help. They assumed they would need to sign up to receive a food package — but we clarified that all we needed was to know how many people to pack for. I’m deeply grateful that the organizers ensured that no one had to suffer through red tape and bureaucracy to get some food.
After some three hours, and hundreds of boxes of food, we were done. I’m glad I found a small way to give back to people in my community without access to food and nutrition. And I’m so glad that IsraAID and the Los Angeles Food Bank were part of my experience. In fact, I’ll be back at my distribution point next week.
IsraAID’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic
IsraAID is responding to COVID-19 in 16 countries worldwide, providing vulnerable communities with access to the crucial resources they need to overcome this crisis and begin the road to recovery. Click here to find out more.
In the United States, IsraAID volunteers have distributed food packages to more than 200,000 people, in partnership with Team Rubicon, the Merage Foundation and Shalom Corps.