LOS ANGELES — Judy Starr has been helping feed the Crenshaw District over the last decade.
"Over the past 10 years, it means that I have been a part of this community," she said. "Not just because I live here, but I am welcomed as a safe place for people to come. They don't feel intimidated when they come to our food bank. It is an opportunity for them to choose something."
What You Need To Know
- Judy Starr has been helping feed the Crenshaw district over the last decade
- My Friend's House, Inc. is a nonprofit focusing on preventing hunger and promoting healthy living
- The weekly food pantry began as a small food distribution, when people came to the doors of Ascension Church asking for food
- For more information on how you can donate or assist hunger prevention at My Friend’s House, visit here
After being a teacher for more than 30 years, Starr retired and found another purpose. My Friend's House, Inc. is an extension of her church. The nonprofit focuses on preventing hunger and promoting healthy living, and is a place to uplift those in need — while also maintaining human dignity.
The weekly food pantry began as a small food distribution, when people came to the doors of Ascension Church asking for food. But Starr saw there was a greater need and a bigger picture, and over the past 10 years, she helped grow a once small pantry to an outdoor market.
Starr spends her week preparing for Wednesday — shopping, organizing and coordinating.
"It also serves as a closing the gap because we have lost one of our large grocery stores, which was really only about two blocks away," she said. "So now, people in this community, especially those who are walking or riding the bus, they have to go an extra mile and a half just to get to a grocery store."
For those who can’t afford or easily access grocery stores on their own, this means the world. When Frank Bernal shows up, he’s not just shopping for himself.
“I’ve got a neighbor that’s 79, a neighbor that’s 64, a neighbor with a 1-year-old, two very obese women. They can't go up and down the stairs. And I come here on Wednesdays, and they give (me) all kinds of stuff," said Bernal.
Bernal is lending a helping hand to his neighbors and explained how it’s a guesture in this community that starts with an exemplary leader like Starr.
"She does that with everybody," he said. "Imagine that a person that can make you feel comfortable in your own seat. That's Judy."
For Starr, it’s not just a hand out, but also a hand up.
"Why do I do it? Because I know it's helping somebody," she said.
For more information on how you can donate or assist hunger prevention at My Friend's House, visit here.