Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana Focuses on Children

MONROE – The Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana is addressing childhood hunger with targeted programs.

·      During 2013, more than 420 students in nine local schools received a back pack every Friday during the school year containing six meals for the weekend through the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana’s Backpack Program. The students are selected from the Free and Reduced Lunch Program by teachers, staff and school employees. The food cost for this program was more than $100,000.

·     In Madison Parish, 1,740 students in five schools received 136,840 pounds of food throughout the school year which was provided through the Kid’s Cabinet School Pantry Program. In all five schools, 95 percent of the students qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program.

·     In June 2014, the Food Bank of NELA distributed 192 emergency boxes of food to 273 people (of which 48 percent or 131 were children). These distributions reached 182 households with an average income of $543 per month.

·     The last hunger study completed by the food banking network indicated that, on average, of the people served by food banks across the country, 42 percent were children.

·     According to the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University, more than 90 percent of low-income single mothers have three children or fewer.

·     According to Kids Count – The Annie E. Casey Foundation 2013 Data Book, Louisiana ranked:

o     46th in overall child well-being

o     42nd in economic child well-being

o     41st in children’s health

o     47th in family and community (a measure of nurturing a child receives from family and community)

During 2013, the Food Bank of NELA:

·     Distributed 4,565,395 pounds of food throughout its 12-parish service area.

o     Distributed the equivalent of 3,539,065 meals.

o     Value of food distributed: $7,715, 518

“The number of children in our nation and our state who are going hungry is a crisis we can’t afford to ignore,” said Richard King, executive director of the Food Bank of NELA. “While poverty is a multi-pronged issue, if we don’t do our part to break the cycle it will continue to perpetuate itself. We are increasing our focus on children’s programs to increase their chances of becoming productive adults, and we need community support to make that a reality.”

To donate food, money and/or time, call or visit the Food Bank of NELA at 318-322-3567; 4600 Central Avenue, Monroe, LA 72103.

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