Action Report: Westwego Food Bank reopens to big crowds

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 31, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 1 at 5:28 AM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

WESTWEGO, La. -- Over 100 people jammed the Westwego Food Bank, not for the grand opening ceremony, but because they need the emergency food baskets the agency supplies.

"It's frustrating. They call a number, 1, they call 82, 34, then they go back to 26, then they go to 40 something," said client Tammy Frazier.

"We've been averaging 60 to 80 families a day, so there will be a wait," said Judith Ingram of Wildflower Community Development, the agency that runs the Food Bank.

Inside volunteers hustled to fill baskets with enough food to last families for a week.

"Artichokes, cheese, ground meat. And you've got the ribs? Got to put them in the basket," said volunteer Rose Jones.

The Westwego Food Bank was shut down for 10 months when Hurricane Isaac heavily damaged the building's interior. But town leaders spent $100,000 to repair it, hoping to be paid back by FEMA.

"We weren't going to wait around for FEMA, we weren't going to wait around for insurance proceeds," said Westwego Mayor John Shaddinger. "Because it was so much in big demand, the need, community."

Well, they got the building open, but Wildflower Community Development, which runs the Food Bank, has zero dollars in the bank, nothing to run it. In fact the chairs were donated by the volunteers, from their own homes. Isn't it nice to have a place to sit? Yes. They urgently need help.

"In order to get a truck from the warehouse, from Second Harvest, that's a $50 charge. We can't even get that," said Ingram.

"It's very important, we probably wouldn't make it without it. I'm a single mom with kids," said client Marsha Steele. What? "And it's very important," said her son Gabriel.

"And it's very fast too, because you don't have to like go looking around, it's already ready for you," added daughter Jamie.

The Food Bank can't even afford a telephone, so to make donations, please call Westwego Town Hall at 347-5745.

 

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