The St. Charles Parish Council has declared May as the 8th annual Need to Feed Month, with the time serving as a month when people are educated on the food needs in the local community.
Matthew 25:35 Ministries’ Food Pantry, which serves local individuals and families monthly as it helps to meet food needs, is the non-profit organization behind the declaration. The food pantry operates out of St. Charles United Methodist Church in Destrehan.
“We have many families that do not know how they will have enough food to feed their families for the entire month,” Matthew 25:35 Ministries Director Mary Anne Schindler said. “With so many people out of work or being home unexpectedly, the need is not always with people that you might think. Many that never thought they would need assistance are now reaching out because they cannot pay their bills and have enough money for food.”
During May there will be food drives throughout the parish to collect food.
“We also will be collecting funds for additional food and specialty items such as diapers, senior nutrition, hurricane supplies, first aid supplies and so on,” Schindler said.
Schindler said the pandemic and Hurricane Ida drastically changed the food needs of people in St. Charles Parish.
Prior to COVID-19’s emergence, on average Matthew 25:35 fed between 230 and 250 needy families each month. That number has climbed – at its peak – to double the amount at 500 families in a single month during the height of the pandemic.
“The food pantry has been serving each week since COVID began just as we were prior to COVID,” Schindler said. “We were up and running the week of Ida so that we could serve the community in their time of need. Over 11,000 hot meals and 2 million plus pounds of food later, we pray we helped those that needed the help. With the support of our community we were able to have food and other supplies for all that came for help.”
Nationally, it’s been estimated that one in every five families is food insecure.
To educate the community, as well as raise money and collect food for the food pantry, Matthew 25:35 organizers and volunteers will host the eighth annual Need to Feed 5K Fun Run/Walk on Saturday, June 4. All proceeds from the event will provide funds to carry out the organization’s mission.
The run/walk route will start at the St. Charles United Methodist Church – located at 1905 Ormond Blvd. – and go southwest down Ormond Boulevard, then will continue up the levee and turn left on River Road. The course will then U-turn at Ormond Plantation and reverse back to St. Charles United Methodist Church.
Schindler said the event is sponsored by Valero, and that the 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. day will include things for the entire community including children’s games, help filling out a SNAP and food pantry applications and a “feed a truck” event – where patrons can explore and take pictures with vehicles like construction equipment, Saints/LSU vehicles, farm equipment, emergency vehicles and school buses and “feed” them donated canned goods.
“What we’re trying to do is bring the community together and make them aware of what’s available to them and how they can volunteer,” Schindler said. “We invite everyone to just come out and have a fun family day.”
Non-profit or service organizations area also invited to set up a display at the event to let the public know what they have to offer.
Online registration is available for the run/walk at https://raceroster.com/events/2022/60221/need-to-feed-run-8th-annual-fun-runwalk.
Anyone interested in hosting a food drive or getting more information on ways to help for the June event can call 504-512-3575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can also be found on the Matthew 25:35 Facebook page.