“I’m just one in the family. Receiving this food just opens up my heart… to know that people care about people down here. This here is a big help to the poor and to those who really need it.”

Born and raised on a farm in Maurepas, Charles remembers spending his childhood picking strawberries, beans and peas. “It’s what we had to do to make our living. I didn’t get much education because I had to work on the farm a lot,” Charles recalls.

Although Charles moved off the property and had a family of his own, he’s still in Maurepas decades later. All his life, Charles had been able to provide for himself and didn’t need to rely on a Food Pantry like Second Zion Church, a member agency of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, until recently.

Life as Charles knew it changed when he received 5 feet of flood water in his home during the August 2016 flood. He evacuated to his son’s home in St. Gabriel, but soon after they both had to evacuate to another area due to rising waters. He wasn’t able to get back to see the damage to his home until days later, when the water levels had lowered. Since the flood, things have been difficult for him.

A good friend and cousin of Charles had heard about the Food Pantry at Second Zion Church and told him about it. “The first time I came here, I didn’t know what to expect. They said you’d get free groceries so when I saw the box I was excited because it had everything in it.”

Despite his hardships, Charles is grateful for the community who has stepped up to help him and so many others in their time of need. “I’m just one in the family. Receiving this food just opens up my heart… to know that people care about people down here. This here is a big help to the poor and to those who really need it.”