Second Harves, Water’s Edge holding drive-thru food pantry drive

Published 10:10 am Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Thanksgiving dinner cost an average of 20 percent more this year than last, according to a report from the American Farm Bureau Federation. More people need help stretching dollars. Water’s Edge and Second Harvest are helping.

On Thursday, Dec. 1, at Waters Edge Church in Lake Charles, the food pantry drive through begins at 10 a.m. The new monthly Second Harvest Mobile Market is scheduled to be at Greater St. Mary’s on Saturday, Dec. 17.    

Inflation overall may be at seven percent, but anyone who has tried not to cringe when the cashier totals groceries knows what the AFBF survey found. Food is up, and it’s up much more than seven percent. One young lady at a popular grocery store admitted she no longer announces the shopper’s total. Instead, she announces savings.

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“The rising cost of food, housing and utilities coupled with the income that is not keeping pace with rising costs have increased the need for food assistance,” said Natasha Curley, Second Harvest. “Many families in Calcasieu Parish are asking for help for the first time.”

The Second Harvest Mobile market is a Second Harvest initiative to tackle food deserts across Louisiana by providing access to affordable healthy food. A food desert is an urban or rural area in which it is difficult to purchase fresh and affordable food.

“The Humana Foundation sponsored mobile market has been a huge resource for the Southwest Louisiana community,” said Curley.

She said the hope is to reach more people who need access by increasing the number of days the mobile market is in Calcasieu Parish, but sponsorships, volunteers and donations will be needed. Year round, the organization works with 20 Calcasieu Parish churches, shelters and kitchens to keep pantries stocked.

“We are seeing an increase in need across the board and one of the challenges that have impacted us is the supply chain issue because our retail partners were affected. Second Harvest makes a point of getting the message out that it is not just a canned goods and shelf-stable provider. Those retail connections helped the organization provide produce, meat and dairy.”

Waters Edge purchases most of its groceries, spending $7,000 to $10,000 per food giveaway, according to Kelli Stawecki.

“We also gather donations throughout the month, mostly from the congregation. However, this month, a few businesses and schools have collected food for us, and we’ll be giving that away Thursday as well. It’s the giving season, and we are all thankful. Times are hard right now.”

To volunteer or give to Second Harvest, check out its website. To get help with food, call 211. Greater St. Mary’s Missionary Baptist Church is located at 1801 2nd Ave., Lake Charles. Water’s Edge is at 2760 Power Center Parkway, Lake Charles.