Before Hurricane Ida devastated St. Charles Parish, the Matthew 25:35 Food Pantry in Destrehan served 250 client families a month.
Now, Director Mary Anne Schindler said, that number is closer to 1,000.
With quadruple the number of people needing services, Schindler said more than ever the food ministry needs volunteers and donations.
“Before Ida we serviced our clients once a month on Wednesdays,” Schindler said. “Since Ida it has been a mass distribution, so there is no limit as to who can come. We also added Saturdays. We really need volunteers because schools are starting to go back and we had a lot of students volunteering … people are starting to go back to work too. Initially we had a lot of out-of-town groups come in but that’s been dwindling. If you’re not in this area you’ve gone back to normal life.”
Matthew 25:35 operates out of St. Charles United Methodist Church, which sustained significant damage in the storm. Still, Schindler said, the organization has stayed focus on serving the needy with groceries and has added hot meal offerings twice weekly as well.
“Initially we brought a whole trailer of food back when we came back from evacuation,” she said. “Since then we’ve been receiving donations from churches and other organizations throughout the country. Second Harvest has also been providing trucks as they can, and we’ve worked very closely with Norco Fresh Market and had a lot of food donated.”
Schindler said Matthew 25:35 would continue the twice-weekly distribution of food and hot meals as long as they were allowed to by their partner agencies. At this time, she anticipates it will last until at least Oct. 13.
Volunteers are needed from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The church is located at 1905 Ormond Blvd. in Destrehan.
“If you can volunteer any of these days or know of someone that can, please let me know,” Schindler said. “We need people of all ages and all skills. We have a job for everyone. We do ask you to wear closed-toe shoes and wear a mask and social distance yourself from others.”
To volunteer, donate or learn more about Matthew 25:35, email Matthew2535.firstname.lastname@example.org or visit its Facebook page.