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East Carroll Parish looks to combat food insecurity during COVID-19 pandemic

According to date from Feeding America, East Carroll Parish ranks as the 5th most food insecure...
According to date from Feeding America, East Carroll Parish ranks as the 5th most food insecure place in the nation at 32.5%.(Source: KNOE)
Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 7:57 AM CST
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(Editor’s note: This story was originally published Jan. 15, 2021 at 6:43 PM EST by knoe.com)

LAKE PROVIDENCE, La. (Great Health Divide) - One in 5 people in Louisiana are food insecure.

According to data from Feeding America, the state was projected to have a 20.1% food insecurity rate in 2020. That equals to around 938,280 people.

In Northeast Louisiana, one parish is suffering unlike any other place in the country.

“The hunger statistics for the whole area are really alarming, and even more so for the more rural areas including East Carroll,” Jean Toth said, Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana Executive Director.

East Carroll Parish has the 5th highest food insecurity rate in the nation at 32.5%. The parish also ranks 3rd when it comes to child food insecurity at 52.2%.

That’s why the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana is addressing the issue.

“We provide food to a pantry that serves about 400 families a month out there. We have a senior program that we work with the community and we serve around 100 seniors. This year, we’re also serving about 600 kids through our kid’s pantry program throughout the schools,” Toth said.

Organizers say the Food Bank’s assistance helps a lot, but resources are thin.

Doris James operates the pantry in Lake Providence and has been handing out meals to families every month since 2013. She said the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a tremendous strain on what they can give out.

“A lot of them, they don’t get food stamps or they don’t get enough,” James said.

Officials say without the community’s help, none of this would be possible, but they are still asking for people to step up whether it’s donating time, money or resources.

James said no matter what happens, she’ll do her part to make sure the people in the community are well fed.

“It touches my heart. I understand. I see the need, so as long as I’m able to do this, I’m going to do it,” James said.

The pantry hosts a giveaway on the 3rd Friday of every month. Each person must submit an application before hand.

For more information about how you can help the Food Bank, click here.

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