In the midst of our lives full of such excess, imagining that people we pass on the streets and sidewalks of our community are hungry is difficult to imagine. However, the truth is that hunger is a real thing — even right here in Acadiana.
Julie Lafleur, the new executive director at FoodNet: The Greater Acadiana Food Bank, says she has seen the face of the hungry in Acadiana. Lafleur says she sees families with young children and the elderly who have been able to provide for all of their needs until now.
“Often, these are people who don’t know what to do,” Lafleur said. “We get calls from family members, neighbors, friends and caretakers asking help for their elderly family members, friends and clients because they have little food in their homes.”
FoodNet has several major food drives on the near horizon. For example, the Rotary Club Election Day food drive set Nov. 4 will collect food at the election polls. The KLFY TV-10/FoodNet “Food for Families” food drive will be Dec. 2 at the Cajundome and is in partnership with 17 other food pantries in the Acadiana region from Mamou to Morgan City.
Lafleur said she and her staff are so grateful for the upcoming food drives. There’s only one problem. FoodNet’s shelves are almost empty now.
Literally. There is very little food left to feed the hungry between now and the upcoming food drives.
I spoke with Lafleur last week. (In full disclosure, we go to the same church.) I asked her what foods FoodNet could use most. She quickly rattled off a list of ten items. We talked a little more and developed what we are calling “The 100 Item Challenge.”
I am challenging you as an individual, as a Sunday School teacher, as a classroom teacher, as a book club member, as a Scout leader or member, as a civic club member – whoever you are, to be a part of “The 100 Item Challenge.”
It’s a matter of buying, gathering or collecting ten items or the ten things the food banks need most. Here’s your shopping list:
10 cans of tuna
10 cans of any other kind of meat
10 “meals in a can” — chili, beef stew, chunky soup, etc.
10 cornbread mixes
10 packs of pasta
10 cans of tomato sauce
10 jars of peanut butter
10 containers of oatmeal
10 containers of grits
10 “meals in a box” — Hamburger Helper, Rice-a-Roni, noodle dinner mix, etc.
I did some shopping and have priced the full list at about $150 (my exact total was $143.98). Of course, that depends on where you shop and the size of the items you buy. If you’d prefer to go in with a friend or neighbor to gather the items, please do. The point is, FoodNet needs the groceries now – before the big upcoming food drives.
You can drop off the food between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon on Monday through Fridays. Lafleur and the staff are also there at other times, but you should call 337-232-FOOD to check on exact times. Find the FoodNet offices and shelves at 217 Surrey Street here in Lafayette. Learn more about them on the web at www.foodnetacadiana.org. If you know of another food bank closer to you, I’m certain they could use your donations as well.
Take The 100 Item Challenge, and send me a picture of you and your FoodNet groceries.
Send photos or contact Jan Risher at firstname.lastname@example.org.