LA gives organizations $300k to spend on restaurant gift cards for families in need

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Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn on Monday announced a plan to give $300,000 worth of restaurant gift cards to families in need.

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The effort aims to support both small, local restaurants and families who are struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"People are hurting," Hahn said in a Monday statement. "Through no fault of their own, people have lost jobs and wages, and small businesses have been shuttered. We designed this program to get food on families’ tables while at the same time supporting restaurants that are struggling right now."

Hahn will distribute $330,000 total, through discretionary funding, among 11 nonprofit organizations who will then buy the restaurant gift cards and give them away to families, according to a blog post.

Hahn’s office allocated $300,000 of the total $330,000 to purchase restaurant gift cards and $30,000 to local nonprofits for their efforts.

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"2020 has been a very difficult year for a lot of families and local businesses," Oscar Hernandez, executive director of Whittier Boys and Girls Club, which is participating in the plan, said in a statement. "Thanks to Supervisor Janice Hahn, the Boys & Girls Club of Whittier will be working with our local school district partners to provide gift cards and vouchers to local restaurants."

General manager Damien Williams prepares outdoor seating at Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

He added that he thinks the plan will help both local families and restaurants struggling as COVID-19 cases surge in California.

More than 18 million COVID-19 cases and more than 318,000 deaths have been recorded in the U.S. since February. California recorded a new high of more than 60,000 positive cases on Monday.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a Monday press conference said the state has recorded a seven-day average of nearly 44,000 positive cases and 233 deaths. He added that the state will likely extend its regional stay-at-home order first implemented on Nov. 16.

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California is on track to receive more than 560,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine this week; the state administered more than 70,000 doses last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

Congress on Monday passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package that will give $600 in direct income to lower-income Americans and families, as well as $300 per week for 11 weeks in unemployment benefits.

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