Northeast Louisiana Food Bank, Monroe, Louisiana, hunger - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |

NELA Food Bank's million meals plan

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MONROE, LA. (KNOE 8 News) - The Northeast Louisiana Food Bank already distributes 3 million pounds of food annually across the 12 parishes of Northeast Louisiana.

They distributed more than 2 million meals in 2012.

But their mission to feed all of Northeast Louisiana is growing more and more difficult, thanks to what the food bank calls the "meal gap."

The bank revealed that in order to keep their supply up with how much the entire region is eating, so that everyone in the parishes they serve is fed, the food bank would have to make up more than 11 million meals.

Now the food bank is putting together a 5-year strategic plan to make up those millions of meals year after year.

"Our goal is to replace one-eighth of those 11 million meals, so that's going to be another 1,300,000 meals or something in that range that we've got to replace," NELA Food Bank Executive Director, Richard King, said.

That's more than a million meals every year over the next five years on top of the millions the food bank already puts out, but that's not all that will have to expand. Their transportation will also need to be beefed up.

"Have an extra 18-wheeler back up and bump this loading dock every week that we're not getting right now," King said. "We have to have 52 more 18-wheelers a year back up to that dock and unload food in addition to everything we're distributing right now."

They'll also need more money in their annual budget.

"To get where we're going to go, that probably will have to increase another $200,000-$300,000," said King.

Internal expansion is also called for.

"One will be board development. One will be staff development. All of these things that have to be developed and fit into place to achieve that goal," King said. "So it's a multi-component thing with the goal equated in pounds of food or meals."

This five-year strategic plan is being made in the hopes of helping the food bank figure all of this out and they said the plan could be finished within the next month.

The food bank said the people can also help make this plan come together with their own generosity. They said a donation of just $1 helps them distribute six meals.

Keep it right here on KNOE 8 News as we keep you updated on this issue.

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