Feb 5, 2013 4:36 PM by Melissa Canone
Bayou Teche Dare to Care is a community campaign of giving to provide food items purchased in one ton quantities with donations and sponsorship dollars to local food pantries. Organizers are not asking for food contributions, but rather monetary donations which can be used for volume purchases of needed food items. The food will be distributed to participating food pantries in Iberia Parish, based on each food pantry's monthly need and distribution system.
The campaign is set for Spring. This is following the traditional fall and holiday seasons, which are typically the time when food banks receive their largest donations. Ellen Nora, Executive Director, of Solomon House mentioned to campaign of giving organizers, that by springtime many of the local food banks are running very low on food, and it becomes a challenge to meet the ongoing community need. When asked about the importance of the donations, Zach Mitchell with Sheperd's Pantry said: "A donation of food from Dare to Care will be a lifeline to the pantry resulting in a lifeline to our clients in need."
The need is greater than most citizens in Iberia Parish realize. Each food pantry tracks their distribution in different fashions - some by families, and some by individuals. There is one common factor in all. The need is there and documented. Parish based food pantries reported these distribution statics: Ronnie Smith, with First Presbyterian Church Food Bank located on North Lewis Street in New Iberia, informed Bayou Teche Dare to Care that during most of 2012 their banks supplied 400 individuals with necessary food items monthly, with increases in November to 510 and a record high in December of 620 individuals. Ellen Nora, of Solomon House, reported assisting 556 families annually. Social Service Center assists 300 families monthly. Sheppard's Pantry assists 120 families monthly. Loreauville residents rely on two food banks in their community: Loreauville Baptist, which assists 75 families monthly, and Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, which aids 150 families monthly. St. Francis Diner serves an overwhelming 40,000+ meals annually to the hungry.
Funds collected will go to purchase necessary food items in ton quantities at discounted prices based on the quantity purchased. Marilynn White, president of Bayou Teche Dare to Care, when asked about why this group is collecting monetary donations over food she answered. "The eight member board, organized in November of 2012 to oversee the operations of Bayou Teche Dare to Care, realized volume purchases made with monetary contributions would generate more food items per pound than a traditional food drive." White also went on to explain, "By purchasing food items we can provide the food pantries specific items needed. White continued she was unaware of food pantries' need for items such as Ensure and Boost until the board worked directly with the food pantries to determine exactly what was needed." Items needed include: rice, beans, pasta, macaroni and cheese, instant potatoes, peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti sauce, canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned meats, canned soups and food replacement items such as Ensure, Glucerna and Boost. Ton quantities will be distributed quicker than most can imagine. For example, when considering macaroni and cheese, one ton contains 4000 eight ounce packages. Based on food pantry data 4000 boxes will stock for less than four months in Iberia Parish. When these statics are considered, no one can deny the need for a springtime campaign to provide food to those in need.
Organizers are seeking corporations, individuals, churches and other civic organization to become sponsors. Sponsorship levels include: Diamond Sponsor $5000; Platinum Sponsor $3500, Gold Sponsor $2000, Silver Sponsor $1000, Copper $500, Contributor $250 and Contributions by Friends of Dare to Care are welcomed in any monetary amount. All sponsors and contributors will be recognized in pr materials and will receive a certificate of appreciation.
The goal of the organization is to provide 25 tons of food. Five tons have already been promised, including one ton at the $5000 Diamond sponsor level. Charlotte Schneider, President of United Methodist Women's Ministries, one of the donors, said, " Our women's group at the First United Methodist Church does many things throughout the year to help the less fortunate, but we do not have a major spring charity. After hearing the overwhelming need for food at that time of the year, the Women's Ministries Council felt that this would be an excellent opportunity for us to extend our Christian love to others at the local level."
Bayou Teche Care to Dare, Inc. has applied for recognition as a nonprofit, 501c3 organization. The organization has no paid staff. It is a completely 100% volunteer based organization. All sponsorships & donations to a 501c3 are tax deductable.
The next meeting will be February 7, 2013 at Iberia Medical in Class room A. Interested parties are invited to attend.
On March 15, 2013 the community will be invited to a public presentation of food to the food banks at which time all sponsors will be recognized. Like us on Facebook to learn more about the March 15th Event.