Food product comes to the Food Bank in a lot of different ways – food drives, grocery stores, manufacturers and purchased product. Unfortunately, because of the unintended consequences of the nation responding to hard-hit natural disaster areas with food, it has negatively impacted the Food Bank’s ability to fill the warehouse’s shelves with food.
“When we receive donations we are able to take those dollars and make them go a long way by securing bulk food product at the lowest possible costs which in turn means feeding more people in need,” said Mike Manning, President and CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. “What we are seeing now from the response to the natural disasters is that the supply of healthy food product is not readily available for procurement. This leads to a more competitive environment to secure food. With less product at a higher cost, it means empty shelves at a time when we would not have expected it.”
Over the years, the Food Bank typically struggles to keep the shelves full during the summer, when member agencies see an increase in clients due to children at home who are without access to school meals. Heading into the holidays with depleted shelves is unusual and only further stresses the need for giving to be on the top of mind of those in the community.
“We know that we will have to be strategic and innovative in how we secure food right now with less supply and a more competitive environment,” said Manning. “We have always seen generous support from our local community around the holidays and we are very thankful that they think of us during this time. We believe it is important to share where we are in this current environment and also communicate that it is a great time to come together with others to hold food drives for families in need.”