LYNWOOD – Lynwood Unified families in need are receiving gift cards worth up to $100 this December to help them purchase food after the Lynwood Partners Educational Foundation was awarded an $80,000 grant from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) for Food program.

The LPEF Foundation is partnering with the District at LUSD events to distribute the gift cards, which are restaurant vouchers that allow families to purchase meals this holiday season. The vouchers will be completely dispersed by the end of the month, and the efforts are also supporting local Lynwood businesses during challenging times.

“We are grateful for this timely grant that allows us to continue meeting the needs of our community members,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “More than ever this holiday season, we are working to ensure our families have the essential needs that allow them to support their children and loved ones.”

LPEF and LUSD staff worked together to prepare the gift vouchers before distributing more than 100 at a holiday drive event on Dec. 12 at Firebaugh High School. More than 500 were then delivered to grateful families during the District’s food and pantry event on Dec. 16 when the community received its weekly offering of fresh, healthy food options.

“It was incredibly gratifying to see the faces of community members who received this special holiday gift,” said Elsa Chagolla, LPEF Executive Director. “We will continue to support the District, the food pantry, and all the people who make Lynwood special.”

The LUSD food and pantry program has serviced more than 13,000 families in need with groceries to aid them during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pantry is now on holiday break and will resume food distribution on January 6, so the gift cards allow families continued access to food during the layoff.

The pantry has become a staple of Lynwood and provides more than just food – community members also bring clothing and other necessities to aid families.

The CARES for Food Security grant program is a partnership between the CA Community Foundation and the County of Los Angeles that allocates funds for food-related programs and services implemented in response to the pandemic.

The Lynwood Partners Educational Foundation has been vital in working to support the Lynwood Unified community during the pandemic.

“Partnership has been our greatest tool in helping us combat these challenging times and inspiring change in Lynwood,” LUSD Board President Maria G. Lopez said. “From our food pantry partners throughout the city to grant programs like this one, we are rising to the occasion because of the collaboration we enjoy with our allies in education.”


121720_LUSD_CARES1: Lynwood Partners Educational Foundation Executive Director Elsa Chagolla, right, hands out a restaurant voucher to a community member on Dec. 16. LPEF and Lynwood Unified are distributing the vouchers to help families purchase food during the holiday season.

121720_LUSD_CARES2: Lynwood Unified staff members prepare to hand out turkeys to families on Dec. 16 during the District’s food and pantry program.

121720_LUSD_CARES3: A Lynwood family holds up a restaurant voucher on Dec. 16. Lynwood Unified is distributing the vouchers thanks to an $80,000 grant from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) for Food program.