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Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank struggling to keep up with growing demand ahead of holiday season

3 months 1 week 4 days ago Monday, November 20 2023 Nov 20, 2023 November 20, 2023 6:25 PM November 20, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Shelves that are usually stocked to the brim with non-perishable food items are more bare this year at the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. 

President and CEO Mike Manning says inflation is to blame for the empty shelves. National donations and governmental programs the food bank falls back on are also "dried up," he says. 

"A lot of companies have refined their operations to not produce as much. It's limiting the amount of product available, so not as much is becoming available off those shelves to donate to us," Manning said. 

The rising cost of food is hitting the vast majority of Americans with full force. Ahead of Thanksgiving, many more families are looking to the food bank for assistance. 

"We're also seeing people who have gotten out of the line of needing assistance from us and they're having to come back because of inflation and the additional issues that creates for them," Manning said. 

While the food bank is a solution for families and individuals facing food insecurity in the capital region, Manning is concerned his organization has been hit with a "double whammy." Growing demand coupled with dwindling supply and a decrease in both food and monetary donations is a pressure cooker for trouble.

"That on top of the additional costs we're having to face, [it] really is creating some significant issues for us," he said. 

With a grocery list of problems, the organization is implementing damage control. Some of the solutions include reaching out to national donors, hosting more community food drives and distributing food in advance of big holidays.

"We're doing the big push to get through so that our agencies can make their distributions in advance of Thanksgiving. And then we're going to make the hard push through the end of the year to make sure people have food for Christmas," Manning said. 

For more information on how to donate food or funds to the GBR Food Bank, or hold a food drive of your own, click here

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