Food Insecurity Plagues Greater Baton Rouge Communities

NBC Local 33

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — One year into the pandemic and food insecurity is still plaguing communities in Louisiana.

One out of five children are experiencing food insecurity in the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank’s service area, but over time even these numbers increased.

President and CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank Mike Manning says, “You have to look at COVID, then you gotta look at all the hurricanes, then lay on top of that the freeze, the freezing weather with the pipes issues and people losing their food, so it has really increased the demand for food assistance.”

Relief efforts have been extended throughout the nation. 

Senior Program Officer at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Jamie Bussle says, “we feel like it is an urgent issue, and we are urging Congress to dramatically increase support for programs like the SNAP program which is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program”

They found that even working families had to choose between bills and providing meals for their children.

“That’s our focus, to try to bridge those gaps, those holes if you will. just like we target certain areas where there is significantly increasing need, we target kids to make sure they have food, especially on the weekend,” says Manning.

The benefits extended beyond nutrition.

Manning explained, “Kids not being hungry is to make sure they have ‘presenteeism’, which is they are in the classroom, yes they are not absent, but also they are paying attention. they are not distracted.”

For those who experienced food insecurity, Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is offering a special distribution starting on Saturday, March 13th.

GBRF serves 11 parishes in the region where all have experienced a high percentage of unemployment.

Click here to learn about some of the programs and projects GBRF is assisting with.

Click here to learn about how you can donate or volunteer.

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