God’s Pantry sees increase in need

Published 11:32 am Friday, May 13, 2022

With the cost of food, fuel and other items increasing, many Jeff Davis Parish residents are turning to God’s Pantry for help.

God’s Pantry Director Vicky Rushing said she has seen an increase in need, especially from senior citizens on fixed income.

It’s a never-ending need for people who need food, she said.

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“We started out serving approximately 500 clients and we are up to over 1,200 clients,” Rushing said. “So we have definitely seen a big increase.”

God’s Pantry, located at 15358 La. 26, has been helping struggling families stretch their food budgets since opening nearly two years ago.

“A lot of people have told us that because of us they are able to keep food on their table and feed their families,” she said.

She said it does her heart good to be able to help people and see their tears of joy when they leave with a box of food.

Ramona Parker, 66, of Jennings, has been both a client and volunteer since the pantry opened.

“This helps substitute a lot of food for me,” Parker said. “If I have extra I give it to people that also need it.”

Parker said the pantry is important because it helps many people survive. Without the pantry, she said many families would be short on food each month.

“It’s all about giving,” added volunteer Carla Chapman, 76, of Jennings. “Whatever is in the pantry people get it. The Lord has blessed this pantry and we are able to bless the people that are in line waiting for the food.”

God’s Pantry has partnered with the Second Harvest Food Bank and Walmart to help supply food. Food items vary monthly, but usually include canned foods, rice, beans, cereals and flour. Fresh food, produce and meats are distributed when available.

The pantry recently received a $25,000 grant from the Louisiana Department of Revenue to help buy a new walk-in freezer which will allow it to store more cold food items.

Distribution days are 10 a.m.-noon the second and fourth Saturday of every month.

“We are very thankful and blessed to be a part of the community as a non-profit,” she said. “Our volunteers just enjoy and love what we do. We are here to bless the people.”

As the needs of the community grow, Rushing said the needs of the food pantry is also growing. She hopes to expand in the future.

The pantry is seeking both volunteers to help box, distribute the food and direct traffic, as well as food donations from the community. Food donations can be dropped off at the blessing box located in front of the pantry.

Along with the food pantry, there is a 24-hour blessing box for homeless people and others in need of food and personal hygiene items. Rushing estimates that 20-25 homeless people use the blessing box a day.

“And the numbers are constantly growing,” she said.

Anyone in Jeff Davis Parish can receive food from the pantry and anyone can donate, Rushing said.

Residents can register for assistance 10 a.m.-noon on Mondays or Fridays. Proof of income, driver’s license and SNAP letter are needed to register.

Rushing, who was injured in an accident in 2012, said she knows what it is like to depend on others when in need.

After working as a volunteer with the Second Harvest Food Bank, Rushing opened God’s Pantry in Jennings nearly two years ago as a way to pay it forward.

For more on God’s Pantry, visit their Facebook page or website at godspantry.us, or call 337-246-3966.