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Bogalusa food bank struggles to keep community fed

With Thanksgiving almost here and the time drawing near for the celebration of love coming to earth in the form of a baby, many begin to think of gift giving. What better way to celebrate than to help make the holidays more special for those is need?

The Bogalusa Help Center is in the business of feeding the hungry all year long. With the help of the community, they can make Thanksgiving and Christmas better for folks who find themselves in need of a little extra help to feed their families this year.

The Bogalusa Help Center, under the direction of Gene Haymon, is a godsend to people all over Washington Parish.

“Many times,” according to Patricia Branch, who serves on the board of directors, “the food and monetary donations will become dangerously low. Just when we begin to think we may not have enough to help everyone, it seems to come from nowhere. It is like the parable of the loaves and fishes in the Bible. When we do our best and trust God, He always multiplies what we have, and it is more than enough.”

“God uses the people of our community in a beautiful way,” said board member Carol Jacob. “We have many, many clubs and organizations that conduct food drives throughout the year. Without the wonderful support of all our donors we absolutely could not do what we do. It is truly an act of love by all who give of their resources, and the clients we serve are so appreciative.”

“Of course, a small percentage of people are ‘takers.’ You know the kind — always looking for a handout. But the vast majority are people like you and me that have fallen on hard times. With all that is within them, these men and women desire to be the ones giving instead of receiving,” said Haymon.

“An anonymous donor gives oranges every Christmas and Thanksgiving and has done so for years. It is so nice to be able to give a little something extra in the baskets and watch the children’s eyes light up when they see the special surprise,” Haymon added.

“Some of the children have so very little. Many elderly grandparents have taken their grandchildren in and are struggling in their latter years to provide a stable home for these little ones. We all know how much it takes to provide food and clothing for a family. Many times the parents are incarcerated or have fallen into a terrible drug habit, and the children suffer. We just want to do what we can to ease the burden on these families any way we can,” Haymon explained.

The Rev. Newman, chaplain for the group, remembers an especially touching story of a woman who in her need and distress became very angry.

“Because there was no flour in her bag of groceries, she stole a bag of flour from another woman and stormed out. About a year went by, and I found her knocking on the door. Times had changed for the woman, and she came to apologize. She left a large monetary donation for others in need,” said Newman.

All the board members agreed that stories like this one are not uncommon.

If you find yourself looking for someone to bless during this most holy of seasons, the Bogalusa Help Center and the people they serve would be so grateful.

The center is located at 350 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. All donations are tax deductible.