Nearly 70,000 NELA residents are experiencing food shortages
MONROE, La. (KNOE) - One in five households in Louisiana don’t have enough food to eat. That’s according to an analysis by Urban Footprint. They say more than 21 percent of the population in Louisiana is food insecure. That means they don’t have the financial resources needed for consistent access to enough food. That’s about 367,000 households. Furthermore, Urban Footprint says 15% of Louisiana residents are suffering from food insufficiency. That is, they reported not getting enough food to eat at some point in the last week.
Jean Toth, the Director at the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana, says before the pandemic, the number of households in Northeast Louisiana experiencing a food shortage was about 15 percent. Now, that number has doubled.
“So, before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had about 63,000 people who were food insecure. and of those 63,000, about 23,000 of them were kids. So we know that once COVID hit and the kids were out of school and at home, that the number of kids that were food insecure grew,” said Jean Toth, Director of the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana
Toth says about 70,000 thousand households are currently experiencing a shortage of food throughout the 12 parishes that the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana serves. The organization has made it a mission to provide curbside meals to families each month to decrease the number of households without enough food.
“So, the food bank, along with all of our partners and the schools we distribute the backpacks to, we serve about 30,000 people every month. The 30,000 represents everybody, so that’s seniors, families, and kids. It’s everybody we serve,” said Toth.
The food bank has served the parishes for more than 20 years. The goal is to continue to provide the basic needs to meet the high demand for food.
“Food is such a basic need, and I think that we can all relate to not having enough money when you go to the grocery store and having to make some decisions and not having enough food in your refrigerator or your cupboards for your kids. So, I think at the Food Bank, we are just so blessed that the community has recognized that need ever since COVID began,” said Toth.
The study reports Louisiana and Mississippi are among the top five states facing food insecurity. Click Urban Foot Print to find out more.
If you’d like to help put food on empty tables in Northeast Louisiana, click here to donate.
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