2021 Grants Challenge

Healthy Futures at the YWCA of the Harbor Area

YWCA Harbor Area’s Healthy Futures program is a food and earth cycling program. Along with providing healthy food to community members, we believe we have a responsibility to participate in the recycling of materials and have formulated an intervention that addresses food insecurities, access to healthy food, and air quality. Our vision includes the expansion of our food distribution and composting program and the addition of a community garden and nutrition program.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

South Bay

Other:: Harbor Area

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Based on the Food Insecurities Factsheet via UCLA, in many California communities, the official federal poverty measure does not reflect the true level of need. Though the living wage for basic needs varies by California county, in all cases that wage exceeds the highest allowable income for public nutrition programs such as CalFresh (UCLA Factsheet). In Los Angeles County, one in eight children do not have enough access to fresh fruit and vegetables. San Pedro and Wilmington communities currently have little to no options for weekly food banks in the area and many rely on YWCA Harbor Area for weekly food to feed their families. Furthermore, according to the USDA Food Access Resource Atlas much of the area we serve is considered low-income, and has low access to healthy food, and According to the CalEnviroscreen 3.0 results, San Pedro scored in the 97th percentile for factors that make communities most affected by many different sources of pollution.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

Our Healthy Futures vision is a food and earth recycling concept of rescuing food, redistributing, and using scraps for composting, while educating the community. Based on community needs, we plan to expand our food distribution and composting program, a community garden, and an after-school nutrition program. Expand the Food Program: Increasing the reach of food distribution by increasing the number of distribution days, creating secondary drop off locations, more food diverted from the landfill, and eventually, we hope to have a full food bank serving the surrounding communities. Diverting more food from the landfill will decrease methane emissions in the Los Angeles area. Expand the Composting Program: Expanding the composting program includes expanding the composting space, volunteerism associated with the process and distribution of compost to the community, and a community garden with an educational component for youth in the community. Add a food and agricultural after school program: The nutrition education initiative named, “Food Champ Jr.” provides socially disadvantaged, school-age children and their families with fun and engaging knowledge about food literacy, nutrition, basic healthy cooking skills, and how to build sustainable food systems in their local areas. The combination of serving healthy food while delivering hands-on education nourishes a child’s mental and physical well-being while developing lifelong healthy eating habits.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 3,405

Indirect Impact: 9,000

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

For over 100 years, YWCA of the Harbor Area, dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, has provided services and programs to improve the lives of people of Los Angeles County. We have provided hope and dignity to hundreds of families in need, and in alignment with the LA2050 vision, we are poised to contribute to the citizen visions and proposed metrics. Our vision is to improve the health of the people of LA through the cycling of food and waste through a process of service, reuse, and education. We intend to do this by expanding our current food distribution program, composting leftovers, and adding an educational component via a community garden and after-school program. Over the long term, this intervention will increase access to fresh foods, decrease emissions, and increase community knowledge of the benefits of healthy foods and sustainability.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Tracking plan: Pounds of food rescued from landfills and distributed to families. # families receiving food packages weekly # families reporting a decrease in food insecurity with program support. Pounds of compost managed weekly. # youth participating in after-school nutrition program # youth reporting increased knowledge of healthy choices. Goals: Healthy Futures will increase the number of pounds of food distributed by 100% from baseline at the beginning of the grant cycle. Healthy Futures will decrease the number of families reporting food insecurities from baseline at the beginning of the grant cycle. Healthy Futures will increase composting results by 50% from baseline at the beginning of the grant cycle. Healthy Futures will begin distributing 50% of all composting materials. Healthy Futures youth will report increased knowledge of healthy food choices. Healthy Futures will produce a community garden to serve the community and supplement the afterschool program.

Which of the LIVE metrics will you impact?​

Access to healthy food

Food insecurity

Air quality

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the best place to LEARN