Food response to natural disasters across country leading to less available food supply

While the country continues to respond with food assistance to hard-hit natural disaster areas, the unintended consequences of supplying food to such a large area are starting to show up in empty shelves at the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank at a critical time heading into the holidays.

“When we receive donations we are able to take those dollars and make them go a long way by securing bulk food product at the lowest possible costs which in turn means feeding more people in need,” said Mike Manning, President and CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. “What we are seeing now from the response to the natural disasters is that the supply of healthy food product is not readily available for procurement. This leads to a more competitive environment to secure food. With less product at a higher cost, it means empty shelves at a time when we would not have expected it.”

Over the years the Food Bank traditionally struggles to keep the shelves full during the summer, when member agencies see an increase in those needing food assistance with children home and not receiving meals while at school. Heading into the holidays with depleted shelves is a bit unusual and only further stresses the need for the Food Bank to be top of mind as families and businesses look for ways to help.

“We know that we will have to be strategic and innovative in how we secure food right now with less supply and a more competitive environment,” said Manning. “We have always seen generous support from our local community around the holidays and we are very thankful that they think of us during this time. We believe it is important to share where we are in this current environment and also communicate that it is a great time to come together with others to hold food drives for families in need.”

For more information on how to host a food drive or to learn more about Food Bank outreach programs and how you can help, visit brfoodbank.org.

Contributed by the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank