In the community of North Baton Rouge, sits a unique kind of house that has been helping those less fortunate for over two decades. It’s not a traditional family home, but rather a home where hundreds of families come for food, clothing, and most of all – hope.
Mary’s House of Bread, located on Plank Road north of the airport, has been serving those who are food insecure since 2001. As recently as November of 2021, Mary’s House of Bread was facing closure after two decades of serving the community.
Steve Bridges saw a great need for food assistance in the area, so he answered the call to breathe new life into the pantry.
“This area of north Baton Rouge is hurting, and we see it firsthand,” said Steve. “I pastor the church up the road and seeing the needs of people made me want to get involved and do this. We want people to know that there is someone who cares. We had to step up to keep it open.”
Steve along with his brother and other community volunteers worked to revitalize the pantry and over time, turned what was once a dilapidated old grocery store, into a food pantry that also serves as a thrift shop. The thrift store helps defray the costs of rent and electricity so that donated funds can be used to purchase more food.
Mary’s House of Bread serves 320 families per month by distributing roughly 15,000 pounds of food. Of the 1,200 individuals served monthly, hundreds are children.
“In the summer, we see children knocking on our back doors looking for food,” stated Steve. “We do what we can to help them as much as we are able to. We see the need is great and we understand that.”
Steve is most thankful for both the food the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, which provides food at no charge, and the host of community supporters who help them thrive.
“We’ve just been blessed with a lot of people who want to get involved, donate financially, bring in supplies and things. We don’t have any paid staff or paid volunteers, just people who have a heart for other people. When someone walks through the doors, they aren’t going to be looked down upon. They are going to see a friendly face and someone who really cares for them. And our purpose is to help people get back on their feet.”