BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Hunger Action Month comes as a time in Southeast Louisiana where food is in high demand following Hurricane Ida at the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.
“With so many more people in need, it’s a daunting challenge,” says President/CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank Mike Manning.
Manning says the need for food was already high, but has grown as countless families are in need after losing everything in the storm.
“It’s a much larger increase now just to make sure people have food, but then there will be people who’ll need us going forward. We anticipate our need will be much higher than it was pre-Ida going forward,” explains Manning.
Typically, the food bank stores around a million to a million & a half pounds of food and gives out around 300,000 to 400,000 pounds of food a week. Staff typically prepares disaster relief food boxes for natural disasters, but quickly ran out.
“We started building as soon as we got back and have been building boxes ever since and we just need to keep going. We’re going to keep building boxes and sending out product for as long as we have to.”
Thankfully, donations and volunteers have been pouring in to help with relief efforts making sure those in need have all the essentials. Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, is a Louisiana native and says seeing everyone come together to help their neighbor wasn’t a surprise.
“When the people of Louisiana keep on getting up, we keep getting knocked down and getting up again. That’s what I expect in Louisiana. I admire it and it makes me so proud to say this is where I’m from,” says Babineaux-Fontenot.
One of the biggest messages is to give even when things begin to go back to normal.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint. When the cameras are gone, please don’t forget there will be people, probably your neighbor that’s going to still need help,” Babineaux-Fontenot says.
If you want to learn more about volunteering or donating, visit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank’s website.