Local food banks bracing for surge in demand

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 6:32 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - With the extra 600 dollars CARES Act unemployment benefit no longer available, the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana says they’re bracing for a new surge in demand.

According to the organization’s Communications Director Sarah Hoffman, they’ve seen an uptick at their food pantry in Monroe.

“In the first few weeks after shutdowns occur, we saw 415% increase in people looking for food assistance on our website,” Hoffman said. “So we have definitely seen the numbers go up and the lines in our pantries.”

The group also sends food out to other pantries and soup kitchens across the community.

“So wherever you live, there is help available if you need food assistance,” Hoffman said.

Broken Wings Mission in Union Parish is one of those pantries that receives help from the Food Bank. Darla Powell is a volunteer with the mission. She says they have seen a surge in demand since the pandemic.

“For the people that come in here, it takes a lot of courage to say I need help,” Powell said. “And we have some people that it’s the very first time I’ve ever had to ask for help.”

The mission holds large distributions on the second Tuesday of every month. They also have food to giveaway every Tuesday and Friday thanks to Walmart’s ‘Feeding America’ donations.

“Fortunately, the community has been incredibly generous to us,” said Powell.

“Our supplies of food and monetary donations are okay right now, so we are prepared to meet increases in demand,” said Hoffman, “So we just hope that people will continue to keep the Food Bank in mind.”

The Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana will partner with Monroe and West Monroe to distribute 1,000 food boxes. The distributions will be on Wednesday, August 5, at the Monroe Civic Center and Thursday, August 6, at the Ike Hamilton. The food drives are from 9 a.m. until supplies last.

Copyright 2020 KNOE. All rights reserved.

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