As part of World Food Day on October 16th, two semi-trucks from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rolled in early Wednesday morning to the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana. The distribution center of The Church of Jesus Christ filled trucks with 70,000 pounds of dry goods, soaps, and detergents, canned goods, peanut butter, and other pantry staples to be distributed throughout the area. The Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana, which works with 150 local non-profits to help feed over 75,000 members of our community, will distribute the contents of one of the trucks. The Food Bank will divide the goods from the second truckload between Joe LeBlanc Food Pantry of Minden and a revitalized food pantry 5 Loaves and 2 Fish Food Pantry in Shreveport for distribution to their respective areas.
5 Loaves and 2 Fish Food Pantry was revitalized by Guy and Drena Dodson in May 2020 when the former food pantry Changing Directions was about to close its doors. Drena Dodson, the food pantry coordinator, stated, “When we realized Changing Directions was going to shut down, we knew people could not lose their food. The Lord told us we needed to take it over. We knew it needed to be more than a food pantry.” The organization now has a diaper pantry and tutoring. It is beginning a partnership with another organization to focus on homeless prevention, especially with youth. Drena Dodson went on to say, “5 Loaves & 2 Fish strives to meet the needs of our food-insecure neighbors in the Lakeside/Queensboro community. We are so thankful for this amazing donation. We express gratitude for this partnership on behalf of our recipients. We can tell you firsthand they appreciate and feel God’s love when they receive this food.” The goods donated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will help with their ministry that serves 180 families per month with food.
The Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have built a collaborative partnership with fundraisers for disaster relief, large and small-scale food donations, and volunteer coordination for food distribution during the pandemic. Martha Marak, Executive Director of the Food Bank, recalled with gratitude the countless exchanges with The Church’s Communication Director, Charris Glass. She described how Charris Glass arranged volunteer groups to distribute food throughout Shreveport in the drive-through food lines during the initial wave of the pandemic. She went on to say, “This generous donation comes at a time when the demand for our services is higher than ever before. We couldn’t be more grateful for this much needed support from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On behalf of the families, children and seniors that we serve, we are grateful for this partnership in helping us feed our food-insecure neighbors.”