In 2020, nearly 9,000 bags of food—bags with staples like canned goods and peanut butter-- were distributed across an eight-parish area in Acadiana. And while 2021 has started with a pandemic and freezing temps, the folks at FoodNet don’t plan on slowing down any time soon.
“Piling it on; we’re just piling it on,” smiles Ben Broussard, Communications Director for Catholic Charities, which owns and operates FoodNet. “Disaster after disaster. Starting with the pandemic; we’ve got two hurricanes we’re going to be responding to years from now; let’s add an ice storm, one that you’re meteorologists are saying we haven’t seen in 10-15 years? What’s next?”
The ‘what’s next’ doesn’t seem to matter, as the call for assistance is continually answered by FoodNet and its partners. The increase in food requests in recent days has been noticeable; and while those aforementioned freezing temperatures have upped the ante’ and increased the challenges, Ben Broussard says icy and snowy conditions haven’t greatly disrupted supply chains…just yet.
“The supply chain is far better than it was back in April of last year, when the pandemic began,” explains Broussard, “but as we’re seeing, with a disruption like this--- icy roadways in Texas, and all around Louisiana-- I wouldn’t be surprised if we have issues moving out into the future because of this.”
While some items have been donated, circumstances of the past and current year, has caused FoodNet to purchase more of its food than ever before. Numerous food staples have been either handed out or delivered; the weather conditions or health concerns or possibly both are keeping
many people inside. And there are donations made to help Acadiana’s homeless as they are housed in area hotels.
FoodNet and many other food banks are built—says Broussard—to handle disasters, both natural and personal.
“So, something as simple as a bag of groceries to help them get from point A to point B; that could be the mercy that person needs in that individual moment.”
(To donate monetarily to FoodNet, visit www.catholiccharitiesacadiana.org/donate; food donations can be made at numerous grocery stores in the Acadiana area).
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