Founded in 1988, HopeNet has been serving Angelenos for 35 years
In 1988, a collaboration of four Los Angeles area faith-based organizations wanted to address the rising number of Angelenos facing hunger. In response, they founded an independent 501(c)(3) to create and manage a network of food pantries in Los Angeles: HopeNet.
Headquartered out of First Baptist Church on Westmoreland, HopeNet began a food pantry distribution site in Koreatown. It purchased and distributed its own food to those in its surrounding community. In its first year, HopeNet distributed nominal amounts of food.
To expand its efforts and utilize already existing resources, HopeNet began partnering with faith-based congregations that had established distribution sites, volunteers, and communities. It also started working with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank (LARFB) as its main food source. The faith-based facilities provide space for the pantries free of charge, and all facilities are managed by volunteers. There is no religious involvement in HopeNet’s operations— simply providing food and services to those in need in neighborhoods around the pantry locations.
This allowed HopeNet to shift its focus from creating and maintaining distribution sites, to solely sourcing and providing food, immediately tapping into communities where food insecurity was already identified as a high priority. The LARFB created consistency in sourcing and operational costs.
This system enabled HopeNet to put mass amounts of food out into the community using the least amount of funds. Pantries were able to focus their efforts on distribution, and those facing food insecurity were able to easily acquire food that was free, healthy, and accessible. Each pantry has its own schedule and offers related services as it is able to do. Cooked meals, personal care, household supplies, showers, and tutoring for neighborhood children are some of the additional supports the pantries have provided.
Today, HopeNet has a network of 12 pantries that spans 20+ miles in the Metro Los Angeles area and beyond. Its partners are faith-based congregations, of many faiths, and non-profit organizations. It purchases and provides food for all the pantries within its network at no cost. That food is then distributed through HopeNet pantries, for free, to anyone that wants or needs it. It has even been able to secure and provide diapers, COVID-19 supplies, and home goods-all for its community at no cost to them or the pantries.
In 2022, HopeNet distributed more than 3.2 million pounds of food and served +261,000 unduplicated persons.
To address the rise in homelessness, HopeNet and its two partners founded Hope West Apartments in Mid-Wilshire. The 17-unit building offers permanent housing for low-income individuals and families that is safe, reliable, and affordable. In 2021, HopeNet became the sole owner of the property. It has 55 tenants who, on average, have been at Hope West since 2006. Its longest tenant moved in to the building in 1994 and its newest in 2022.
Food Pantry Program
Starting in 1988, HopeNet's most well-known program distributes food that is accessible, free, and healthy through its network. Food is distributed every day of the week and is open to all. Food is mainly sourced from the LARFB with an emphasis on healthy foods like lean proteins, dairy, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Find a pantry in your area, here.
Hope West Housing
HopeNet is the owner of this 17 unit property that provides a safe and supportive community for low-income individuals and families. With reliable, affordable, and permanent housing, Hope West residents are able to thrive and focus on improving their quality of life. Hope West opened in 1994.
Senior Expansion Program
From 2018 to 2020, HopeNet partnered with the LARFB for the Senior Expansion Program (SEP). HopeNet used a LARFB van to deliver free and healthy food packages to 519 low-income seniors (ages 60+) across 10 sites in Los Angeles.