Central residents doing their part to feed the hungry

CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - There's an effort this month in the City of Central to fill their food bank with enough items for families in need. For several years, a man named Dennis Lewis would go around during the month of December to collect donations for the city's food bank. Lewis died about two years ago. His daughter has now come up with a non-profit called Central Feeding Central to carryon the work he started.

"When it's in your heart to give, it'll be there," said Kevin Keithly.

Wednesday, Keithly was getting donation barrels ready to roll out to businesses in the area. He says his wife, Michelle Lewis, started the program as a way to honor her father's memory, but she also wants to raise awareness about the need in the community.

"Last year, we probably got 2,000 pounds of food," Keithly said. "Hopefully this year we'll double that."

In 2013, when the program started, the group only collected food for a week and a half during Christmas time. This year they decided to expand their collection from November to December.

Anne Marie Grissom, 74, and her husband who is 88 operate the City of Central Food Bank from a building in their backyard.

"It looks like a lot of food, but it can be gone in less than a month," Grissom said.

Her husband can tell you they personally pack the bags that are given out to families in the community.

"There's 16 cans in each of those bags," he said, pointing to groceries that are waiting inside the storage unit.

Their last donation from the area school system was 3,000 pounds of food and the Grissom's unpacked it all, separated it into bins and will pack more bags as soon as another family needs help.

That's been the way they do things since 1989.

The Grissom's say the holidays, just like the summer, is a busy time. They serve 21 churches, which could mean at any time they are helping to feed 16 families every week. They also deliver bags to the local fire stations, where those in need can pick up food.

Central Feeding Central also has a pod located at city hall. They are hoping it fills up as well as the barrel's around the city.

The Grissom's too are hoping they can continue to help meet the needs, with or without the holiday season.

"I hope and pray the Lord leaves us here to do it a few more years," said Grissom.

The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is also accepting donations. Director Michael Manning says he experienced a five year low over the summer due to increased demand and a certain supply that they did not receive. Manning added the holiday's are a big time for their shelves to recover and usually brings enough food to cover the first month of the new year.

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