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NELA Food Bank Site Visit

April 11, 2019

The Northeast Louisiana Foodbank is a local organization that secures food for people in need. Their mission is to battle hunger and improve the wellness of our community by securing food and providing it to partner agencies that feed the hungry; fostering public awareness; and managing direct distribution programs. They cover the twelve regions that make up Northeast Louisiana and were able to serve approximately 5 million meals in 2017.

At NELA food bank, everyone is welcome. Jean Toth, the executive director of the organization, said they do not turn anyone away. She further explained, “There is a difference between a foodbank and a food pantry.” A foodbank is kind of like the warehouse where all the food is sent and organized. The foodbank receives resources via donations from the public, grocery rescue programs, and whatever is allotted through the USDA/ Farm bill. On the other hand, food pantries are the organizations that receive food from the bank. Then, the pantries distribute it to the individuals in communities. Although the foodbank is in charge of warehousing and sorting the food, they keep a set of emergency food bags for people who accidently come to the bank instead of a local pantry. Upon giving an emergency food bag, the foodbank gives the person information about the pantry closest to the person.

As seen the foodbank’s main job is to procure and distribute food to pantries. They do this through a series of programs. The backpack program, children’s pantry program, grocery rescue program, natural disaster relief program, and senior program are all effective programs the foodbank employs. They plan on using the grant amount of $2,500 on their senior program. Mrs. Toth explained, “Our seniors are a vulnerable population that are often not able to work, drive, or grocery shop. But it is important we take care of them. They are the roots of our community.” A senior can be given a 30-pound box of food every month for a year for as small as $100. With this grant, the foodbank would be able to give 25 senior citizens food boxes every month for a year.

Mrs. Toth’s organization is truly a great one. Every day they work together to achieve their goals. This hard work can be seen through their accomplishments. In 2016, the organizations revenues were approximately 1 million dollars more than expenses. Furthermore, they were able to give approximately 24 thousand meals every month. It is safe to say that any donation given to the foodbank will be used efficiently and effectively. If you would like, please follow, donate, or sign up to volunteer on their facebook and instragram @fbnela.

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