Organic Harvest Gardens: Feeding People. Building Community.

Organic Harvest Gardens in North Long Beach is a pleasant surprise when you visit it. Tucked behind two apartment buildings off of Atlantic Avenue and up against the 91 Freeway, organic fresh crops are taking root and sprouting hope. 

PalacioMagazine.com and the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion (LBCEI) have partnered to produce a series of video stories on LBCEI’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

LBCEI partnered with Organic Harvest Gardens (OHG) to provide delivery of fresh, local, organic produce to over 300 homebound seniors.  The following video features OHG co-founder Rod Dodd and was produced in partnership with Antonio Ruiz of PalacioMagazine.com 

More on Organic Harvest Gardens

Organic Harvest Gardens

(From their website: organicharvestgardens.com) 

“At Organic Harvest Gardens, we are two University of California Certified Master Gardeners, who head up a team of committed and passionate organic vegetable gardeners, farmers and general landscapers. With over 25 years of collective experience in organic vegetable gardening and landscaping, you can rest assure that you are in capable and professional hands. 

Rod, Master Gardener and our Director of Farm/Garden Design. Rod is a retired Staff Research Associate/Animal Resource Manager for USC, UCLA and the Veterans Administration. He is also a trained world traveled professional Chef, specializing in all types of cuisine, with an emphasis on Organic cooking. 

Adam, a highly-skilled Master Gardener, has an extensive background in horticulture, garden centers, retail nurseries, and private/commercial estates. He is a Certified Irrigation Repair Technician from Irrigator Technical Training School, as well as, the Long Beach Chapter President. 
We, at Organic Harvest Gardens, are zealous and dedicated in assisting you in your desire to live a greener lifestyle. We make it our priority to hold every client in high esteem, from the smallest to the largest. It is our goal to design, build, and maintain the garden that you deserve, from handcrafted garden beds to the very best nutritional and flavor-packed veggies you could never purchase from the grocery store.” 

Source: https://palaciomagazine.com/organic-harvest-gardens-feeding-people-building-community/

Connecting Our Children to The Future: The Laptop Giveaway


Connecting to the internet became an even greater challenge for Long Beach parents and students with the Covid-19 pandemic and the move to remote education. Families faced difficult choices: access technology to help bridge the digital divide or watch their children fall behind. The Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion (LBCEI) took on the challenge of a world of remote education. As they describe on their website, “The Long Beach community, especially those most vulnerable, will fall behind without access to technology.” The consequences are that this will result in an even greater divide in “…the inequitable distribution of resources across the city.”  

LBCEI rushed in to help.

They partnered with Long Beach-based human-I-T to distribute refurbished laptops to families and students in North, Central, and West Long Beach. The laptops went to students of the YMCA’s Early Childhood Education and Youth Institute programs, Long Beach City College students and families served by local nonprofits, including United Cambodian Community and Long Beach Day Nursery. 

PalacioMagazine.com partnered with the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion to document the impact on the YMCA’s Early Childhood Education and Youth Institute program and the students they serve.

Long Beach City College also took part in the distribution and documented it.  

Source: https://palaciomagazine.com/connecting-our-children-to-the-future-the-laptop-giveaway/

Youth-led food giveaway coming to Ramona Park in North Long Beach

The Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion is hosting a drive-thru food giveaway for residents struggling with food insecurity near Ramona Park next week.– ADVERTISEMENT –

The event is will take place on Aug. 29 from 9 to 11 a.m. at 3301 E. 65th St.

Montserrat Pineda is a University of Redlands student who is collecting food donations and putting the event together.

“Accessibility is important to me,” she said in a statement. “I’m excited to bring food resources to my own community during such a difficult time.”

The organization is hoping to feed 100 families living in the area.

People interested in volunteering during the event can sign up by clicking here.

Source: https://lbpost.com/news/youth-led-food-giveaway-coming-to-ramona-park-in-north-long-beach

LAPTOPS GIFTED TO 100 INCOMING LBCC STUDENTS

The Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion (LBCEI) presented Long Beach City College (LBCC) a donation of 100 Chromebook laptop computers for LBCC students on Mon., June 22 as part of the citywide #InThisTogetherLB pandemic emergency response campaign.

Together, LBCEI and LBCC distributed the 100 Chromebooks during an event at the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library to incoming LBCC students who live in North Long Beach.

The #InThisTogetherLB campaign has been LBCEI’s pandemic emergency response initiative that directed $250,000 of program funding primarily from BRIDGE Development Partners, along with funding from Wells Fargo and the Office of Long Beach Councilmember Rex Richardson to support under-served families and underrepresented small businesses in North, Central and West Long Beach over the past two months. Funds have supported #InThisTogetherLB partner agencies in their community crisis relief efforts, including the contribution of Chromebooks refurbished by human-I-T for LBCC and YMCA students.

LBCEI, a community development corporation, aims to create an environment where everyone, including students, has a seat at the table and an opportunity to thrive. Youth development is a critical program element of the organization. One of LBCEI’s #InThisTogether goals has included getting technology into the hands of young people in most need – especially in light of mandated online classroom instruction that students must currently participate in during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wells Fargo was the initial funding partner for LBCEI.

Please see the following quotes below from the partner organizations.

“Our current health and economic emergency has had a profound impact on how we access work, health, and education, forcing students and families without access to internet and technology off a digital cliff,” said Councilmember Rex Richardson. “I’m proud to support our incoming students from Uptown by providing these Chromebooks as a critical resource for their success.”

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, it closed access to resources that our LBCC students depended on to complete their class assignments, including our valuable computer labs,” saidLong Beach Community College District Board of Trustees VicePresident Uduak-Joe Ntuk. “I’m grateful for this generous donation and our community partners who stood up to meet this moment and stand with us to address the digital divide that unfortunately impedes too many of our students from North Long Beach.”

“LBCC provided 300 loaner Chromebooks to students since we moved our classes to remote learning,” said Long Beach Community College District Interim Superintendent-President Lou Anne Bynum. “A large number of our students do not have a laptop or computer at home. But this generous gift from LBCEI, the BRIDGE Development Partners and human-I-T have provided a more permanent solution for our students and their families.”

“When you’re the Chair of a Board and get to see young people have access, it makes it all worthwhile. We are proud of our youth who are working so hard to build their dreams. Youth development is critical to economic inclusion,” shared Bob Cabeza, Chair of LBCEI.

“This is a great event. Promoting educational equity in our community is the kind of cause that Bridge is proud to get behind. This means everything to us and we’re excited to be a part of it,” said Rosendo Solis, Senior Director of Development at BRIDGE Development Partners.

“What’s great about an event like this is that people have come together. They’ve pivoted to help each other, their neighbors, their communities, their friends and people in need. There’s no better example like what we’re doing today, which is getting this collaboration of partners that are helping our young people move ahead,” expressed Gabe Middleton, CEO of human-I-T.

Source: https://www.precinctreporter.com/2020/06/29/laptops-gifted-to-100-incoming-lbcc-students/

Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion donates 100 laptops for students at Long Beach City College

In an attempt to help students who are forced to work at home, the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion (LBCEI) has donated 100 Chromebook Laptops to Long Beach City College (LBCC).

The laptops were donated at an event held on Monday, June 22, at the Michelle Obama Library. 

According to the LBCEI, the goal of the donation is to help provide access to student who may not have computers at home, but may need one as the COVID-19 health crisis forces schools to take classes online. 

“When the coronavirus pandemic hit, it closed access to resources that our LBCC students depended on to complete their class assignments, including our valuable computer labs,” said Long Beach Community College District Board of Trustees Vice President Uduak-Joe Ntuk. “I’m grateful for this generous donation and our community partners who stood up to meet this moment and stand with us to address the digital divide that unfortunately impedes too many of our students from North Long Beach.”

The donation was part of the #InThisTogether campaign which is meant to help underserved and underrepresented families in North, Central and West Long Beach. 

The program is funded by $250,000 of funding by BRIDGE Development Partners, as well as funding from Wells Fargo and the office of Councilmember Rex Richardson. 

“Our current health and economic emergency has had a profound impact on how we access work, health, and education, forcing students and families without access to internet and technology off a digital cliff,” said Councilmember Rex Richardson. “I’m proud to support our incoming students from Uptown by providing these Chromebooks as a critical resource for their success.”

Source: https://signaltribunenewspaper.com/50357/news/long-beach-center-for-economic-inclusion-donates-100-laptops-for-students-at-long-beach-city-college/

Community Development Corporation Thrown Into Coronavirus Fray

The Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion formed in early March, a careful construct out of the Everyone In equity efforts.

Plans called for a ramp-up period to consider different  programs that would have the most impact, then begin putting them in place.

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“We were incorporated in March, and thought we might have some programs start by June,” said Bob Cabeza, chair of the LBCEI board and recently retired vice president for community development for the Long Beach Area YMCA. “Then in one go we had to get up to warp speed. We made the decision to really invest in the low income community of color, where the need was immediate.”

Cabeza, his board and interim executive director Jeff Williams looked for where programs could start immediately. They decided to focus on three areas — food needs, lack of technology and help to small businesses.

LBCEI was an outgrowth of the Everyone In equity effort started by Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson, who got approval from the entire City Council to move forward with initiatives. LBCEI is the community development corporation designed to help underrepresented families and small businesses in north, central and west Long Beach.

A budget of $250,000 was set for the #InThisTogether campaign, LBCEI’s response to the pandemic emergency. The money came from Wells Fargo Bank, BRIDGE Development Partners and Richardson’s office. Once the campaign started, United Way, LISC-LA and the Long Beach Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund offered more financial support.

“We partnered with community nonprofits to work on the food security issue,” Cabeza said. “We helped a lot of small business owners fill out grant forms and the like. And we focused on seniors who were isolated and in need of food.”

A partnership with nine churches and nonprofits beefed up a chain of nine food pantries to serve those in need. LBCEI worked with Food Finders and other sources to increase the amount of food available.

At the same time, a partnership with Organic Harvest Gardens allowed delivery of produce and staples to more than 300 home-bound seniors. The United Cambodian Community and Heart of Ida help there.

Williams said in an email that work has begun to make these programs sustainable over a longer period of time.

Cabeza gets passionate when he talks about efforts to help small businesses — especially those owned by Blacks and other minorities.

“It’s in our name — economic inclusion for all,” he said. “We focus on the small, mom and pop stores. This will take you to the underbelly of Long Beach, the poverty that’s the reality for many… The city has to change, to move resources to address these issues.

“Study history, and you’ll see that Black, (Asian), Brown people have been shut out of the White economy. It’s a matter of generational wealth. We can only change that with education and resources. These people need a leg up.”

In addition to helping owners apply for government grants, LBCEI has created a Small Business Navigators program to coach owners with business plans, information and marketing. A Kiva loan fund has been created to offer micro-loans to those needing help through the COVID-19 crisis, and a special focus on more than 150 small businesses in north Long Beach has been carried out.

Another initiative specifically targets barber shops and hair salons. These small businesses have had an especially hard time surviving the shutdown, and again are owned almost exclusively by minorities.

Finally, LBCEI has donated 200 laptop computers to families and students who otherwise would not have access to technology. The agency also is advocating for lower cost internet access.

“We wanted to help those college kids living in cars,” Cabeza said. “We work with those who are going to college despite poverty. Education is their way out, and we want to help them.”

For more information about LBCEI, its programs or to get involved, go to www.lbcei.org.

Source: https://www.gazettes.com/news/business/community-development-corporation-thrown-into-coronavirus-fray/article_a9886558-bae1-11ea-83e6-4f2631b9cb6d.html

Long Beach Economic Inclusion Center, newly formed, adapts quickly to help people overcome coronavirus

LONG BEACH

The Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion faced a test with life-or-death consequences almost as soon as it formed — and has so far, it seems, succeeded.

The center, which grew out of the Everyone In Economic Inclusion Implementation Plan that the City Council approved last year, incorporated in March; its ultimate goal is to launch programs that would create equity in Long Beach, a city that has long seen disparities in various quality-of-life indicators — income, health, technology access —  between the white population and people of color, especially the Black community.

The organization’s initial plan was to have a ramp-up period to consider which programs would have the most impact before putting them in place. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

So the center adapted. It nixed the ramp-up, decided to focus its efforts on reducing food insecurity, improving technology and helping small businesses — hit hard when the stay-at-home orders forced all non-essential businesses to close in an effort to stem the spread of the virus — in low-income communities of color. The center’s #InThisTogether campaign began with a $250,000 budget and has so far helped increase supplies at nine food pantries, provided healthy meals to 300 home-bound seniors, donated laptops to low-income students and helped small businesses apply for government assistance.

“In one go, we had to get up to warp speed,” said Bob Cabeza, chair of the LBCEI board. “We made the decision to really invest in the low income community of color, where the need was immediate.”

Once the pandemic changed the center’s plans, Cabeza, his board and interim Executive Director Jeff Williams worked on securing money to help fund programs they could get off the ground quickly. Money came in from Wells Fargo Bank, BRIDGE Development Partners and the office of Ninth District Councilmember Rex Richardson, who led the creation of the Everyone In plan, which was largely designed to help underrepresented families in north, central and west Long Beach.

Once the #InThisTogether campaign started, United Way, LISC-LA and the Long Beach Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund offered more financial support.

Then, the real work began.

“We partnered with community nonprofits to work on the food security issue,” Cabeza said. “We helped a lot of small business owners fill out grant forms and the like. And we focused on seniors who were isolated and in need of food.”

The LBCEI also worked with the nonprofit Food Finders and other sources to increase the amount of food available at various food pantries and partnered with Organic Harvest Gardens to deliver produce and staples to more than 300 seniors.

Now, the center has begun working to make those programs sustainable over the long term, Williams, the center’s executive director, said in an email.

Cabeza became passionate when he talked about efforts to help small businesses — especially those owned by Blacks and other minorities.

“It’s in our name — economic inclusion for all,” he said. “We focus on the small mom-and-pop stores. This will take you to the underbelly of Long Beach, the poverty that’s the reality for many.

“The city has to change,” Cabeza added, “to move resources to address these issues.”

The center has also helped small-business owners apply for government grants, and created a Small Business Navigators program to help owners come up with business plans, and perform marketing. A loan fund has also been created to offer micro-loans to those needing help during the coronavirus pandemic.

LBCEI’s third goal, narrowing the technology gap, has so far included donating 200 laptops to families and students who couldn’t otherwise afford them. The agency is also advocating for lower-cost internet access.

“We wanted to help those college kids living in cars,” Cabeza said. “We work with those who are going to college despite poverty. Education is their way out, and we want to help them.”

Source: https://www.presstelegram.com/2020/07/01/long-beach-economic-inclusion-center-newly-formed-adapts-quickly-to-help-people-overcome-coronavirus/

Nine new food pantries set to open across Long Beach to serve vulnerable communities

SIGNAL TRIBUNE | May 11, 2020

In an effort to help feed people during the ongoing health crisis, nine new food pantries will be opening across Long Beach.

On Monday, May 11, the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion (LBCEI) announced that it will be working with Councilmember Rex Richardson and Food Finders to open the pantries as part of its “In This Together Long Beach” emergency initiative.

“We are very excited to help add additional pantries in much needed areas in Long Beach,” Diana Lara, Food Finders Executive Director, said in a press release.

“We will provide as much nonperishable and perishable food as we can for these pantries so they can help residents that live in food desert areas that don’t have grocery stores nearby.”

According to a press release, the ongoing pandemic has seen a number of food pantries close– limiting access to fresh, healthy food for many neighborhoods.

The pantries will offer weekly distributions of food, and some will offer additional food services, such as to-go meals.

The new initiative will partner with religious organizations across Long Beach to set up locations across North, West, Central and Downtown Long Beach.

NORTH LONG BEACH:
• Pools of Hope – Thursdays from 2pm-4pm and Saturdays from 11am-1pm at 6801 Long Beach Boulevard
• Church One Ministries – Mondays-Fridays from 11am-1pm at 700 70th Street
• Light and Life Christian Fellowship – Mondays from 12pm-1pm at 5951 Downey Avenue
• North Long Beach Prayer Center – Fridays from 7am-1:30pm at 5239 Atlantic Avenue

CENTRAL LONG BEACH:
• Grant A.M.E. Church – Wednesdays from 9am-2pm at 1129 Alamitos Avenue

WEST LONG BEACH:
• Fountain of Life Covenant Church – Thursdays from 9am-3pm at 2060 Santa Fe Avenue

DOWNTOWN LONG BEACH:
• Urban Community Outreach* – Sundays from 1:30-3pm at 241 Cedar Avenue
• Christian Outreach in Action* – Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-12pm at 515 E 3rd Street
*To-Go meals are also offered at this site

LBCEI and Food Finders plan to stock each pantry with fresh and frozen produce, protein sources and meat, shelf-stable food and dried goods.

Due to the pandemic, Food Finders is expecting to provide an additional three million pounds of food to Southern California residents compared to last year.

To donate, residents can visit Food Finders at 10539 Humboldt St. in Los Alamitos be tween 8am-5pm. To volunteer, visit www.foodfinders.org or look for their volunteer app on any app store.

To find out more about LBCEI and “In This Together” visit www.lbcei.org/inthistogether.

Source: https://signaltribunenewspaper.com/49090/community/nine-new-food-pantries-set-to-open-across-long-beach-to-serve-vulnerable-communities/

Coalition, Churches Partner To Create Food Pantry Network

THE GRUNYON / GAZETTES.COM | By Harry Saltzgaver | May 11, 2020

A new partnership spearheaded by the Center for Economic Inclusion and relying on area churches has created a network of food pantries in the poorer parts of Long Beach.

Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson announced the coalition last week while promoting a one-time food distribution that took place last Saturday at Jordan High School in north Long Beach. That distribution had people in cars lined up literally for miles, demonstrating the need for food, Richardson said.

In his announcement Richardson said he worked with council members Roberto Uranga (Seventh District) and Mary Zendejas (First  District) to create the coalition. Partners include Food Finders, the Ninth District Council Office and the Center for Economic Inclusion. It is part of the #InThisTogether initiative, Richardson said.

The partnership covers parts of north, west, central and downtown Long Beach, and food was available beginning Monday, May 11. Each pantry is open on a different day, so people needing food can find some every day of the week.

Three of the sites also offer full meals to go. Details can be found at www.lbcei.org.

The pantries are at:

• Awaken Ministries, 2426 Santa Fe Ave. 10:30 a.m.-noon Wednesdays, 562-363-6457.

• Fountain of Life Covenant Church, 2060 Santa Fe Ave., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursdays, 562-308-6781.

• Church One Ministries*. 700 70th St., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday, 562-633-2515.

• Light and Life Christian Fellowship, 5951 downey Ave., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays, 562-630-6074.

• Pools of Hope, 6801 Long Beach Blvd., 2-4 p.m. Thursdays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, 310-537-2224.

• North Long Beach Ministry Center, Inc., 5239 Atlantic Ave., 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Fridays, 562-422-5090.

• Grant A.M.E. Church, 1129 Alamitos Ave., 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays, 562-437-1567.

• Urban Community Outreach*, 241 Cedar Ave., 1:30-3:30 p.m. Sundays, 562-582-1000.

• Christian Outreach In Action*, 515 E. Third St., 9 a.m.-noon Tuesdays and Thursdays, 562-432-1440.

* Serving full meals.

Source: https://www.gazettes.com/entertainment/nonprofits/coalition-churches-partner-to-create-food-pantry-network/article_271661b6-93cb-11ea-b081-ef7cba7ea9ac.html