Food bank distribution ramps up in Baker as insecurities grow

More than 1,000 line up in Baker for food from GBR Food Bank

BAKER, La. (WAFB) - A line of cars snaked through the parking lot of Advantage Charter Academy in Baker Tuesday morning (April 14). The cars belong to people who were waiting for boxes of food from the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.

Mike Manning, the CEO of the food bank, says the lines for the boxes have grown longer as coronavirus maintains its grip on the region.

More than 1,000 people lined up in Baker Tuesday, April 14 to get food from the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.
More than 1,000 people lined up in Baker Tuesday, April 14 to get food from the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. (Source: WAFB)

“We’re looking at numbers that are double what we normally see, even more than double what we normally see as far as people needing us,” Manning said. “We’re trying to get to some people that haven’t gotten any assistance yet, like gig workers and some of the hotel workers that we’re still trying to do outreach to while maintaining support for our agencies that are closed to take care of those clients.”

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Some of the people in line have recently become unemployed; others have relied on assistance from the food pantry to stave off food insecurities.

Traditionally, the food bank would not be distributing food to the people themselves. Partner agencies around the region typically deliver boxes to those in need. Many of those agencies have closed though. Now, staff, along with the National Guard, have to distribute the supplies themselves.

“We’ve seen something like this after hurricanes and those types of things where we do point distribution, but never as broad an area,” Manning said. “In all of our 11 parishes, we’ve been seeing these kinds of lines and these kinds of distributions and the limiting factor is how much food we have brought to cover that distribution.”

The long lines have put a strain on supplies at the food bank.

More than 1,000 people lined up in Baker Tuesday, April 14 to get food from the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.
More than 1,000 people lined up in Baker Tuesday, April 14 to get food from the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. (Source: WAFB)

“At the rate we’re going, we’re going to deplete very quickly,” Manning said.

Until that happens though, Manning says the food bank will continue giving out food to those in need. A number of feedings are planned in the food bank’s 11-parish area over the coming weeks.

Manning is asking for donations to ensure they can continue. You can drop off canned goods at the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, however, he says monetary donations would go further in helping fight food insecurity. You can donate online here.

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