The Matthew 25:35 food pantry has distributed over 350,000 pounds of food to residents in St. Charles Parish since the week Hurricane Ida struck, and now the organization is pivoting operations to be able to meet the holiday food needs of local residents.
“After Hurricane Ida devastated our parish, we were supported by the community and beyond to be able to host eleven mass distribution with hot meals and hurricane supplies,” Matthew 25:35 Ministries President Mary Anne Schindler said. “We were honored to give over 350,000 pounds to families struggling after the storm. We also served over 11,000 hot meals. With this additional activity we have used much of our funds and items that were put aside for Thanksgiving boxes … at first we were thinking we would not have Thanksgiving boxes this year.”
Schindler said the Destrehan-based 501(c)(3) organization is asking for food and monetary donations to make Thanksgiving meals happen for an estimated 500 families.
“After we experienced such support from the community for the eleven mass distributions we had we decided that we would do the Thanksgiving baskets with the hope of bringing families together with some normalcy and to be able to give thanks as a family,” she said.
Food donations needed include broth, breadcrumbs, macaroni and cheese, canned peas, canned green beans, canned corn, mashed potatoes, gravy, rice, cream of mushroom soup, stuffing mix, corn bread muffin mix, cranberries, yams, evaporated milk, brownie and cookie mix, canned fruit, pie crust, cake mix and icing.
Schindler said pantry workers are also reaching out in the community to recruit organizations and businesses to host food drives for the boxes.
“We will begin handing boxes out at the beginning of November and go through Thanksgiving,” she said. “With so much not being normal this year, this simple Thanksgiving dinner box could be what bring families together in a way they cannot do without the help.”
Matthew 25:35 is also accepting monetary donations to help purchase box items. Checks can be made out to Matthew 25:35 Ministries and mailed to 14034 River Road, Destrehan, LA 70047. The pantry can be contacted by calling 504-512-3575 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The pantry currently partners with St. Charles United Methodist Church, Second Harvest Food Bank, United Way of St. Charles Parish, Gracepoint Church, SCP Community Services, Winn Dixie of Destrehan, Norco Fresh Market, Valero, Shell, Dow, Bayer, SCP Libraries, Greater New Orleans Foundation, St. Charles Parish Women’s Club, RSVP, Scout Groups, churches, families and individuals to fulfill its mission.