East Feliciana, West Feliciana and St. Helena parish nonprofits and faith-based groups are able to help residents thanks to contributions from the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.

However, over the past two years, client visits to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank have been up, and the food bank continues to see record numbers of those in need of a meal, a news release said.

The mission of the food bank is to feed the hungry in East Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes, including East Feliciana, West Feliciana and St. Helena, by providing food and educational outreach through faith-based and other community partners.

Through the efforts of volunteers, donors, community supporters and staff, the food bank has met the increased need with additional funding, food deliveries and open hours, the release said.

Beth Dawson, volunteer and director at the Helping in His Name Food Bank in Jackson, said that when she retired from teaching, she knew she didn’t want to stay home all the time and do housework. 

“I was amazed when I suggested the idea of starting a food bank in Jackson how many people wanted to help,” Dawson said.

She said giving “provides more physical and mental rewards, it builds camaraderie and teamwork and it just boosts up your self-worth.”

It can be lots of fun working at the food bank, Dawson said, adding that many volunteers continue to offer assistance.

One volunteer is more than 80 years old, Dawson said, and she never misses a day to volunteer her services.

“There are so many compassionate people who care and want to be there for our clients, and that just keeps me motivated to continue to do what I can,” she said.

The food bank in Jackson provides services to more than 250 families in the area.

Bettye Martin, volunteer and assistant director at the food bank in West Feliciana, said although it distributes food on the first and third Thursday of the month, many other hours and days are spent preparing for those distributions.

“We always need and welcome volunteers and contributions, which are tax-deductible,” Martin said.

The clients go through an assessment that was designed to find out what kinds of services clients need in order to more fully relieve their food insecurities, she said. The assessment was administered directly to the clients in order to best assess their situation, giving them the opportunity to identify the issues they face and the support they need.

To receive food from any food bank that receives its supplies from the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, clients must provide photo identification, proof of residence and proof of income.

To learn more about the services from the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, how to volunteer or how to make a donation, call Dawson at (225) 719-1743.

The food bank locations in East Feliciana, West Feliciana and St. Helena parishes are:

Helping in His Name

3314 E. College St., Jackson

Beth Dawson, (225) 719-1743

Open on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Hyman Chapel AME Church

10732 Riley St., Clinton

Edith Spears, (225) 683-5431

Open on the first Tuesday and third Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Woodland Community Center

10600 Rouchon Lane, Clinton

Brenda Reading, (225) 683-3110

Open every Monday through Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Wilson Community Action Group

6516 Sycamore St., Wilson

William Hill, (225) 629-5456

Open on the first and third Friday each month from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

West Feliciana Food Pantry

4591 Feliciana St., St. Francisville

Bettye Martin, 225-245-4510

Open on the first and third Thursday of each month from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

St. Helena Food Pantry

50311 La. 16, Dennis Mills

Issac Hammond, (225)788-9962

Open on the second and third Saturday each month from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Rocky Hill A.M.E. Church

151 Rocky Hill Road, Amite

The Rev. Joe Chaney, (225) 222-4595

Open on the second and fourth Thursday each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.