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Rally planned at City Hall to protest proposed cuts in emergency food aid and their effect on Angelenos

June 2, 2010 | 11:05 am

Hunger activists plan to rally outside City Hall on Wednesday to highlight the effect of proposed budget cuts on low-income Angelenos.

Nearly 2 million people in Los Angeles rely on public benefits or emergency food to get sufficient nutrition, according to Hunger Action L.A., the coalition of nonprofits that organized the rally. Local food pantries report they cannot keep up with demand.

“Aside from asking the city not to cut their services, we’re asking them to join us in calling for no state cuts that are going to affect vulnerable residents,” said Frank Tamborello, the coalition’s executive director.

To help close a $19.1-billion budget gap, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed abolishing the state’s welfare-to-work program for families with children and food aid for new legal immigrants who do not yet qualify for federal food stamps.

About 580,000 families receive cash assistance under the welfare program called CalWORKS, including more than 167,000 in Los Angeles County. Although most of them would qualify for county grants if CalWORKS is eliminated, the benefit they receive would drop.

A single mother with two children would receive between $200 and $300 a month, compared to about $500 under CalWORKS, according to county officials.

Hunger activists also are concerned about the potential effect of proposed City Hall layoffs on programs, such as the children’s summer lunch program.

“The program is actually federally funded, but what we don’t want to see is the cuts in staffing resulting in cuts in the program,” Tamborello said.

Demonstrators will gather at 4.30 p.m. on the South Lawn of City Hall.

-- Alexandra Zavis