Darren and his family relocated to Baton Rouge from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their home. He thought Baton Rouge was a place they could start anew, free from the threat of similar disaster. He never dreamed he’d suffer total loss again. But when the floods came through Southern Louisiana, that’s exactly what happened.
Darren’s entire house – that he shares with his wife and children – was flooded out. He didn’t have flood insurance because his home was located outside of known flood zones. As a result, his family has to foot all rebuilding costs. To make matters worse, Darren recently lost his job. His vehicles were ruined in the storm. He had no way to get to work, so his employer let him go. His wife works and goes to school, but her income isn’t enough to cover everything they need.
The family is now living with friends, but they turned to their local food pantry at Greater Sixty-Aid Baptist Church, to get the food they need during this difficult time. Greater Sixty-Aid Baptist Church is an agency of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. “Since Katrina, we’ve never had to ask for help,” Darren said, “I’ve been going to this church, but this is the first time I’ve needed food from its pantry to feed my family.”
While trying to get back on his feet, Darren spends his days volunteering with the pantry and helping other families in need. “The floods have definitely created a greater need in this community,” he says. “The pantry has food, but we could definitely use more. We need to help more people recover.”
When asked how his family is taking steps to recover, Darren grew silent for a minute. “Well, we’re doing what we can and gutting the house, but it’s hard, real hard. Right, now I’m just trying to take it day by day.”
He’s grateful that he has the pantry to turn to each day, and for the emotional support he receives from it in addition to food. “This place has been a huge help,” Darren said. “Really, I don’t know what we would have done without it.”