West Hills vitamin brand Nature Made has put forth $1 million to help fund the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Grab & Go Food Relief Program.

West Hills vitamin brand Nature Made has put forth $1 million to help fund the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Grab & Go Food Relief Program.

Early in the pandemic, L.A. Unified set up around 60 temporary meal distribution centers throughout the county to pass out free food to students who normally rely on school lunches for a mid-day meal. As public schools are holding classes virtually, the district is continuing its Grab & Go program through the fall semester. Nature Made’s contribution will help pay for this extension.

The distribution centers, which include 17 Valley middle and high schools, are staffed weekdays from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Individual recipients are limited to two meals a day.

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said in a statement: “We are grateful to the Nature Made team for supporting their local community and for understanding the important role that food security plays in a child’s development and education.”

Nature Made is owned by Pharmavite, a vitamin and dietary supplement manufacturer founded in Northridge in 1971. It makes products under brand names like Equelle, Megafood and Nature Made, one of the top-selling banners in the supplement market. Its donation is part of a campaign to support schools in communities where it has a brick-and-mortar footprint – the company’s corporate headquarters are located at 8531 Fallbrook Ave. in West Hills. It is funding a similar program in Opelika, Ala., where its newest manufacturing facility is located.

In a statement, Pharmavite Chief Executive Jeff Boutelle said: “COVID has laid bare the inequities many schoolchildren and families face even under normal circumstances. By supporting the dedicated efforts of Los Angeles Unified … we’re helping ensure that children can spend more time focusing on their education versus wondering where their next meal is coming from.”

In addition to the donation to L.A. Unified, Pharmavite has funded a Garden Care Program from EnrichLA, a nonprofit that works with more than 90 public schools to teach students the importance of gardening, healthy eating and environmental stewardship. Funding for the program typically comes from participating schools, but economic strain has limited the schools’ ability to pay. Nature Made’s donation guarantees garden maintenance at the schools for the 2020-2021 academic year.

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