With summer comes an increased demand for food assistance, resulting in empty shelves at the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Businesses and the community are urged to help raise critical funds and food to fill the food bank’s shelves this summer through its Redstock drive, a news release said.
“This summer is proving to be one of the more challenging,” said Mike Manning, CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. “The shelves are pretty empty, and the demand is still very high.”
A new study finds that 129,440 people in the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank’s 11-parish service area do not always know where they will find their next meal. In all, 15.2 percent of the area population struggles with hunger, according to research released by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is part of the Feeding America network.
The study also shows the Louisiana child food insecurity rate at 24.3 percent. The summer months are particularly hard on children because they aren’t receiving meals through free or reduced-price school lunch programs, the release said.
The food insecurity findings are from Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study, which estimates the rate of food insecurity for both the general population and, separately, for children younger than 18. The estimates are calculated at both the county and congressional-district level for the entire U.S.
“We are particularly concerned about children and seniors who are undernourished,” Manning said. “Seniors face the issue of keeping up with rising utility bills during the hot summer months, often having to choose between staying cool or having food on their table.”
The Redstock summer campaign runs through Aug. 31.
For more information, visit brfoodbank.org/redstock2015.