Helping the Hungry
In 1984, the Baton Rouge economy was among the worst in the nation. The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank was organized to aid in this problem in the fall of ’84 as an outgrowth of Urban Ministries Coalition. The downtown churches and social relief agencies, all members of the Coalition, had noticed three times the usual number of people coming to them seeking assistance. Also at that time, Delchamps Food Stores contacted United Way wanting to donate the food they could not sell to a local organization that would feed the hungry. United Way called together a small group which became the Steering Committee for the new Food Bank:
- The Rev. John Lipscomb, St. James Episcopal Church
- Jim Colvin, United Way
- Fred Griggs, St. Vincent de Paul
- Pete Underwood, American Red Cross
- Nancy Penn, Episcopal Hunger Coordinator
- David Cheveallier, Volunteers of America
- John Spain, WBRZ-TV
- Isabel Austin, Judson Baptist Association
- Deborah Roe, Catholic Life Center
- B.T. Lewis, The Salvation Army
- Tyke Olinde, University Presbyterian Church
A small group of volunteers began distributing collected bread and food items in the parking lot of Victoria Baptist Church. This would be the first of five homes for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. From the parking lot of Victoria Baptist Church, we moved to a small house, to a warehouse, to an even bigger warehouse and finally, to our current home at Fraenkel Center.
There has been a tremendous amount of growth since the days of the Victoria Baptist Church parking lot, but the mission and purpose of the Food Bank still remain the same. We are dedicated to eliminating a tragic problem – hungry people in a world of surplus food.