Baton Rouge food insecurity increases 35% amid pandemic, study says

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – Many Louisiana families are living on the edge of hunger. At HOPE Ministries in North Baton Rouge, Janet Simmons says her organization is working in overdrive to feed the state’s most vulnerable.

“This is a pretty struggling community all the time,” Simmons said.

Those who can’t afford food are urged to pick up a bag of free groceries for their family. New data from the center for planning excellence shows the portion of food-insecure households in Baton Rouge has jumped to 35% since the start of the pandemic. Statewide, it’s as high as 44%.

The majority of households are in N. Baton Rouge and Scotlandville. Both are majority-black neighborhoods and food deserts.

“What’s hard is seeing someone trying to juggle 10 grocery bags on their bicycle, that’s really difficult,” Simmons said.

St. Vincent De Paul’s Michael Acaldo says their charities are available for anyone in need.

“We help people when they find themselves… hungry, in a situation of homelessness, in need of prescription medicine, just anything that we can to certainly help people,” Acaldo said.

The pandemic has taken a toll on millions, and officials say they will continue to do what they can for the people of Louisiana. The HOPE Ministries food pantry is open at 8 AM Mon, Wed, and Fri.

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