KENNER, La. -- During the holiday season, it's common to see people standing in line to buy gifts. Unfortunately, it's also common to see people here, at the Food Bank in Kenner, just hoping for food to put on the table.
"It's very important,” said Gracy Boyd, a Kenner resident who uses the Food Bank. “Certain parts of the month, you don't have food to last you until the end of the month. You come to the food bank and it helps you out. We need more donations coming in."
Wednesday was especially busy, with families trying to get in before the Food Bank closes for the Christmas holidays. But a shortage of food donations means that some of these people may have to be turned away.
It's a reality that the Food Bank director needs the public to be aware of.
"The need is very great. It’s just more heart tugging, I'd say, at the holiday time,” said Mary-Sharon Howland, director of Community Services Department in Kenner. “We're not going to be able to meet all of the need. I'm sure we are going to run out of food today, before we serve all of the people that are in line."
For Thanksgiving the Food Bank was able to give out turkeys and traditional items. But now they can only supply the bare minimum: canned items, peanut butter, punch and some cakes donated by a local bakery. When the Mayor's Office found out about the Food Banks needs, he asked his staff to help in the hopes the public would follow.
"The mayor asked all of his staff and departments heads to please not exchange gifts – donate money to the food bank,” said Michael Yenni, chief administrative officer for the city of Kenner. “It's the most important thing. Our office alone donated $600."
The Food Bank will be closed until Monday, but concerned citizens can still bring nonperishable food items, baby supplies and toiletries to any Kenner fire house at any time. The items they collect over the weekend will be used to stock the Food Bank's empty shelves first thing Monday morning.
"The need is there. Hunger doesn't take a holiday. So when you're hungry, it doesn't matter if it's Christmas or the 10th of January,” Howland said.
“So, please just remember the food bank year-round, not just at Christmas. The need is tremendous."