The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is always trying to expand our outreach to serve those in our 11-parish service area. Recently, we began our Mobile Pantry Program with the goal of helping those in need that live in areas that are harder to serve than others. For instance, many food insecure individuals are not signed up to receive food from one of our agencies or do not have transportation to get to one of our agencies.
To begin this process, we have started a pilot of our new Mobile Pantry Program in Assumption Parish. We sat down with Kathy Williams of Pierre Part to learn more about her experience with our pilot.
Williams previously lived in the Baton Rouge area but after retiring, she moved to Pierre Part. For the first time in her life, she found herself unemployed and living solely on Social Security for income. When she heard about the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank bringing a new program to her area she was grateful for the help. “It’s something we needed,” said Williams.
Pierre Part was inundated with flood waters during the spring of 2019. The flood waters coupled with the food insecurity rate of 1 in 7 individuals left the community in need of other supplemental food sources. Williams saw first-hand the tragedy her community experienced and those that were affected. “After a two-month span of high water, many were flooded or unable to get out of their homes due to road closures,” stated Williams. “You came in the nick of time, like saviors.”
When asked about the items she receives monthly in her box from the Food Bank, she made sure to note the surprise she felt. “I wasn’t expecting apples, meat, real cheese and even protein bars,” Williams explained. “Protein bars are something someone on a limited food budget won’t go out and buy.”
We hope that our Mobile Pantry Program pilot will continue to see success through the end of the year. With the help of donors, we would like to expand the program through 2020. Williams made sure to express that she used to donate to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank when she was working in Baton Rouge. Before leaving the interview, Williams had a piece of advice for the holiday season. “If you don’t know what to get somebody, make a donation,” stated Williams. “Sometimes it is hard to swallow your pride and admit that you need some help but it needs to be done. But the people who are the most caring and most giving are in South Louisiana.”