A LETTER FROM OUR CEO:
While so many of us are thankful to finally turn the page on 2020, the scars of the pandemic on many Louisiana families are still very fresh. Uncertainty still looms heavy in their hearts and minds as we continue to face COVID-19. We see this first hand through the new clients who are attending our special mobile distributions for the first time in their lives.
We see that families are struggling to make ends meet through no fault of their own. With your help we must be there for them in new and innovative ways. Our community has seen its share of emergency situations in the past be it hurricanes or epic floods that even impacted our own operations. The difference in those situations is that we were able to solve them in a relatively short amount of time. This pandemic on the other hand has been going on for months and we are starting to see continuing and new challenges ahead in 2021.
On top of the uncertainty of the workforce and how unemployment may drive new families to our member agencies for assistance, we anticipate significant cutbacks in the amount of food product we receive from the government and federal feeding programs, which were designated for pandemic response but are now expected to expire. This means lower levels of food resources for 2021, requiring us to purchase more food to meet the increased need.
Adding to the food shortage, Feeding America anticipates that the demand for food assistance in 2021 will be 60% higher than Pre-Covid levels and at the same time available food resources will be 50% less available than Pre-Covid levels. This leads to higher costs on food resources as Food Banks bid against each other to purchase food to feed clients in our local communities. In addition, we have had to change our distribution models and expand our efforts, which places increased strain on resources.
We fully realize that with a new year upon us, people are mostly thinking about a fresh start. It is a time where we make resolutions, reset our expectations, set goals and then figure out how best to accomplish them. Your Food Bank is no different. We understand there will be continued and additional challenges ahead and, with your support, we will face these challenges with successful strategies, innovation, and new partnerships. We will be here for those in need, striving to serve as many as we can. We cannot accomplish this without you. We hope you will join us in this mission for 2021.
Michael G. Manning