To date, more than 600 tummies of local children have been filled by the Joe LeBlanc Food Pantry’s new Summer Feeding Program.
The program, run by Katie Lange, began June 7 and will run from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until August 6, according to JLFP Executive Director Jessica Lewis.
“On those days, parents or guardians of any Webster Parish child can pickup grab-and-go meals at 814 Constable Street,” Lewis said.
They are also offering delivery to apartments and homes within Minden city limits. Parents must call 318-299-6375 and request the food be brought to a specific address. Currently deliveries are going to Chateau Normandy, Hillside Apartments, The Minden Recreation Dept. and several private residents.
“We decided to pickup deliveries this year because there are so many kids left at home during the Summer, and they aren’t able or don’t have an adult around to get out and pickup food for them.
For safety reasons, drivers always deliver in a vehicle marked “JLFP Summer Feeding Program.”
“During our first week we were able to fill 596 bellies of local children,” Lewis said. “Last year we acted as a distribution site for another non profit’s Summer Feeding Program. They did everything for us and it was free to us.”
However, that meant the program had to dole out what they were provided.
“The meals weren’t well liked by kids, most likely because they had strict guidelines and nutritional values they had to hit,” Lewis said. “Mrs. Katie has worked very hard to put together a well-rounded menu that still offers lots of protein and nutrition with a strong focus on what kids will actually eat, and it has been a hit so far.”
Venturing out on their own – without any partnerships or grants – means JLFP accepts the full cost of the meals.
“This isn’t food that we can get from the (Northwest Louisiana) food bank,” Lewis said. “We are actually making several trips a week to local stores to purchase food at full cost.”
Donations are greatly appreciated if anyone feels like they would like to invest in this program. Their PayPal address is firstname.lastname@example.org or a check can be mailed to 814 Constable Street Minden, LA 71055. Also anyone interested in volunteering either in person or for deliveries can see available days by checking out the Signup.com link on their Facebook page.