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

KENNER, La. -- The Kenner Food Bank is an old fire station jammed with boxes and pallets of food.

Organizers served 39,000 meals during the year that ended in June. That month alone 750 families came here for emergency food boxes, 50 more than last year.

'We're seeing homeless individuals, we're seeing single mothers with children, we're seeing the elderly that's on fixed incomes,' said Kenner Community Services Director Arletta Terrell.

'This is his main source of food for a month, you know,' said Murry Howington. 'He don't make a very big Social Security check.'

Howington packs 30 to 40 pounds of groceries into his car each month for his brother in law.

'He's 80 years old,' Howington said. 'He's got one leg cut off. He's not in the best of health.'

But donations sometimes don't match need.

'We've been reducing the amount of food ... to try to give everybody some food,'Terrell said.

'We come together when people are in need and do anything we can to answer the needs of our people,' said Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni.

Kenner leaders braved the heat to break ground on a new food bank scheduled to open next spring. It will have 2200 square feet for shelves, and a refrigerator and freezer so they can offer meat, milk, and produce.

'We want to put in their hands a balanced meal, food that can help them to survive and help their families survive in these hard economic times,' Yenni said.

Things are so tight that every year they run out of food here. It hasn't happened so far this year, but Terrell is losing sleep, worrying every night about what could happen this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

'We're worried always if we're going to be able to meet the need for those families around that time.'

Kenner leaders are excited that the current food bank site will be turned over to the East Jefferson Levee District, which plans to build a $25 million operations center there.

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