Four days after receiving four feet of water throughout its 170,000 square foot facility, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank activated emergency response plans to begin collecting and distributing food to neighbors in need from temporary facilities, reaching almost 75 percent of normal operating capacity. Now just four weeks after the flood, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank has been cleared to return home and resume warehouse operations at the Fraenkel Center, 10600 S. Choctaw, Baton Rouge allowing consolidation from the two temporary warehouses.
While the Food Bank still faces millions of dollars in damages to vehicles, forklifts, refrigeration equipment, machines and all of its office furniture, supplies and equipment, the return to the facility for warehouse operations is a major step forward to getting back to receiving and distributing larger quantities of food to its member agencies and community in a way that is more efficient and substantial. The move will also allow the Food Bank to reestablish its volunteer program to assist in warehouse and food sorting activities.
“Despite the operational challenges caused by the flooding, we have remained focused on fulfilling our mission - collecting and distributing food to neighborhoods in need within just a few days of the flood. We understand many of our neighbors now find themselves in need of food assistance for the first time in their lives, as they face stretched incomes in repairing flooded homes,” said Michael G. Manning, President and CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. “Being able to move back into our warehouse facility on an expedited timeline will allow us to operate with much greater scale to help these families as soon as possible.”
Operating from temporary facilities with limited square footage, has presented unexpected challenges to the food distribution process. However, with the support of the community and many others throughout the country, the Food Bank has been able to network and provide food assistance through daily neighborhood distributions and member agencies for several weeks now. Since the middle of August, more than one million pounds of food has been distributed.