In December 2020, the GIVEN program launched with a goal of helping 10,000 families during the holidays with cash cards for food and essentials. Unlike some federal and local government programs, GIVEN provided assistance with lower barriers to approval to aid in distributing funds quickly through the City’s FamilySource Centers. The Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, with Mayor Eric Garcetti and City’s FamilySource centers distributed $300 per family to help with groceries and other essential items during the holiday season. Over 10,000 cards were distributed in two months, with recipients spending funds on essentials including 35% in grocery stores.
A year later in November 2021, MFLA launched GIVEN 2.0 in partnership with the LA Community Investment for Families Department to distribute an additional 5,000+ cards to families in need during the holiday season. The program continued to focus on low-income families with $300 cash-cards to provide assistance with groceries and other essential items during the holidays. In total, almost 5,000 cards were again distributed in partnership with the City’s eight FamilySource Centers. Excluding cash withdrawals which can not be categorized, at least 79% of funds were spent at businesses specializing in essential items such as food and drug stores.
In order to qualify for the GIVEN program, families had to meet the following three conditions:
- Reside in the City of Los Angeles
- Have a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income or roughly $57,000/year
- Demonstrate hardship through suffered illness, loss of employment or some other negative factor due to the COVID-19 pandemic