Action Report: Food bank needs growth after SNAP cuts

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wwltv.com

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 8:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 26 at 7:17 AM

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

WESTWEGO, La. -- Five hundred families jammed the Westwego Food Bank seeking Thanksgiving help, leaving shelves bare.

"We ran out of food, so we're gonna distribute the turkeys," said Westwego Food Bank Director Judith Ingram.

Cargill employees who donated the turkeys were stunned by how many people needed help for the holiday.

"People were lining up here at (1:30 a.m.), I heard, waiting on a turkey that day, so it's just kind of heartbreaking, but it's good to see that we're able to provide people with a Thanksgiving turkey," said Cargill Manager Jeremy Seyfert.

"It's very important," said Westwego resident Janice Sims. "You know there's a lot of us who don't have anywhere to go or anything to eat."

"We have seen more and more families coming in, with their food stamps either cut, or taken off," said Ingram.

"As we meet with member agencies, they're telling us people are calling us, they're desperate to get on our list, but you don't have a lot more food to send us, so how are we going to meet this need?" said Second Harvest Executive Director Natalie Jayroe.

Second Harvest has about a million pounds of food in their main warehouse right now. But the need is so great they say all of it will be gone, distributed to area food banks, within the next week or so.

And they say because there have been so many cutbacks from the federal government, they are depending more and more upon community support.

"People are going to be hungrier," Jayroe said. "There's no way around that. I'm extremely grateful for this community. They are stepping up. People are doing food drives for us, but it takes a lot of food drives, and a lot of community support."

"I'm very, very worried, because it's not going to slow down," Ingram said. "It's just going to get worse."

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