2022 Grants Challenge


United Hands and our Congressional award-winning food giveaway effort in response to the 2020 COVID pandemic has fed and supplied tens of thousands of needy families with fresh vegetables, fruit, dairy, meats and hot meals for the past two years. Now a community mainstay, United Hands stepped forward to meet the challenge of improving lives, inspiring hope and overcoming persistent poverty by assuring basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter become a reality for the City of Compton, Watts and surrounding unincorporated Los Angeles.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Income Inequality

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

Central LA

South LA

South Bay

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

Other:: Compton

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

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

United Hands weekly food giveaway project will address income inequality has lead to health disparities by providing nutritious food for a community hit exceptionally hard by loss of employment and household instability due COVID. We currently serve with a special emphasis on underserved households, the unrepresentated homeless population and vulnerable seniors and mothers with infants, offering a delivery service for those unable to visit our site and a separate line and priority access for seniors, the disabled and pregnant. United Hand volunteers take food, especially when prepared meals are available, for distribution to homeless encampments located around the city, the canals, railroads, alleys, freeways plus low-income trailer parks and housing projects. Food giveaways are held regularly on Saturdays, often up to three to four times a week. We see hunger firsthand. Our President worries our bags or boxes lasts three days, so we must deliver or many will go hungry.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The ChallengeLA Grant will permit United Hands of Compton to continue with our popular food giveaway which we have financed largely, thus far, through micro-donations by those thousands in line to keep the truck fueled, insured, repaired and running. No volunteers including the President of United Hands have received a salary the past two years so our food giveaway is truly a community grass roots effort and labor of love, but an issue your Grant will address. United Hands will continue to run the largest continuous food giveaway in Compton without city assistance, yet be a mainstay since COVID began. We will operate from our easy-to-access outdoor location near a bus line on a main thoroughfare, 138th and Wilmington Avenue. We will partner for food with the LA Regional Food Bank as well as Amazon and Farmlink, a nationally-recognized college student initiative known for salvaging farm crops being plowed under at the height of COVID. We will pick-up from the food banks as well as receive delivery of semi-truck loads of produce and food goods at the site. Our food giveaways are regularly held weekly on Saturday but normally operate three or four days out of the week. We own one truck which your ChallengeLA Grant will be used to add refrigeration, a new lift gate, purchase fuel snd keep the truck in operation. Our recipients will be served in their cars or walk-up lines. Food safety ServeSafe regulations and COVID precautions will continue to be followed.

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

United Hands has successfully operated since COVID began under the sheer willpower of impacted residents putting their coins together to rent or maintain a truck in operation to pick-up and distribute food. Our success is dependent upon the people power of our very recipients. Our vision is to reduce and eliminate any dependence on the people and secure a more permanent funding base to continue our operation. United Hands was overwhelmed at the start of COVID with thousands in line, including referrals of clients from unions and even medical clinics. The demand went unabated for at least a year, and now continues with recipients forming lines as soon as the truck arrives, waiting up to two to three hours for the truck to be unloaded and bags or boxes to be assembled and distributed. The immediate recognition of a food giveaway in progress has led to the repeat appearance of recipients in our car and walk-up lines, attesting to the continuing need to address food insecurity.

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

United Hands of Compton has gained a reputation for being one of the best giveaways in terms of the quality of our food. Suppliers desiring to address Compton have checked into our reliability in getting food directly and swiftly into the hands of our recipients, so we have earned the confidence of such prestigious companies as Amazon, Food Finders, Farmlink and the LA Regional Food Bank. We gather and maintain a list of signatures of those appear in our drive-up and walk-up lines. We have fed tens of thousands since the beginning of COVID. With funding, we will be able to purchase an iPad and institute a computer-based list, greatly enhancing our ability to record, notify and reach out to our base of recipients. United Hands has been visited by such notable politicians as Assemblyman Mike Gipson, Congresswoman Nanette Barragan, LA City Councilman Herb Wesson and Compton Mayor and councilpersons. We are the recipients of Congressional, Assembly, City and Party awards.

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

Direct Impact: 52,800

Indirect Impact: 211,200