Breaking the food barrier in Central Louisiana


Food Bank of Central Louisiana Executive Director Jayne Wright-Velez spoke at a “Food for Thought: Natchitoches Parish” luncheon Nov. 10.

“It’s a cycle people in poverty live in,” she said. “And it’s very hard to break it.”

From humble beginnings the Food Bank has become a force for good in the community, distributing 7 million pounds of grocery items annually. It serves over 80,000 people in 11 parishes including Natchitoches and partner with over 100 agencies. Of the 80,000, 67,000 identify themselves as food insecure. Of those, 8,200 are located in Natchitoches Parish and of those, 2,500 are children.

The Food Bank shipped 60,000 pounds of groceries to Natchitoches and Vernon Parishes during the spring flood event. It also plans to open a food pantry at Natchitoches Jr. High-Frankie Ray Jackson in January.

“We do whatever it takes to be successful, said Wright-Velez. “This means more to me than a paycheck.”

Council on Aging Executive Director Alice Barrios said that working with the Food Bank since the early 90s, she’s seen first hand what it does for the Natchitoches community.