The operations of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank were nothing of the ordinary for the month of April. During normal operations the Food Bank serves an average of 100,000 people a year but we are now serving an average of 50,000 people in just one month. Additionally, many of our member agencies have closed out of caution for their volunteers as many of our agencies are run by seniors.
To aid in this increased need as well as the need of those we normally serve through our member agencies we have created drive through distributions for our clients. These distributions are run in a way to avoid contact with our clients to limit exposure. In the month of April, after the stay at home order was put into place by the Governor’s Office, we began serving clients with this distribution process.
In the month of April, we served over 13,000 households alone just through this process. This does not include the households we served through our normal operations as well. As the month went on, we saw the need increase. On Tuesday, April 21, our staff along with the Louisiana National Guard, served 1,500 households in Ascension Parish. With the help of Tanger Outlets, we were able to set up our drive through distribution using their large parking lot. The following Saturday, on April 25, with the help of Healing Place Church, we were able to serve 1,500 households in East Baton Rouge Parish as well.
As the month of May begins, we are continuing to serve the food insecure at an even higher rate. Still, as the numbers increase, the food supply decreases. During normal operations the annual cost to feed the hungry in our 11-parish service area is 3.75 million dollars. However, with the current need we are facing a cost of 1.1 million dollars for just one month of feeding those in need. To donate funds to allow us to continue to serve those in need, please visit brfoodbank.org/give/funds.
In a time of uncertainty, one thing is certain, just $1 could help provide up to 3 meals for the food insecure in our community.