Help Center’s Postal Drive coming May 9

Published 8:06 am Monday, April 27, 2015

Bogalusa Help Center President Gene Hayman is always trying to figure out ways to help hungry and needy citizens.

The Postal Food Drive is another way to put food on the tables of needy families throughout Washington Parish.

Postal Food Drive is scheduled for May 9. While on their route, postal workers will pick up donated food near mailboxes at individual homes and then deliver the food to the Help Center, located at 350 Martin Luther King Drive.

“They will deliver food by the truckloads down here,” Hayman said. “This helps us so we don’t have to go to the store and buy food. It’s a great, great help. Those food donations leave money in our coffers for food we need to buy. Anything people want to contribute to us saves on our grocery bill.”

Hayman said the Bogalusa Help Center has 525 families that pick up food each month.

“That’s 11,000 mouths a year,” Hayman said. “We’ve seen folks come in here sometimes with three kids. Many are elderly and have to buy their medicine on limited incomes,” Hayman said. “It’s a blessing to be able to help these folks who are all in need of food.”

Hayman said the center services approximately 160 families, who receive 15 pounds of food per family. That’s roughly 2,500 pounds for 15 families.

Hayman said a family of two receives fresh bread and bananas weekly. For three or more in a family, clients receive twice as much.

The Rev. Theodore Newman, who is the Help Center Board secretary, said hunger is everywhere.

“Hunger is not only in Bogalusa, but it is in Washington Parish as well,” Newman said. “It’s a parish-wide thing.”

Everybody associated with the Help Center is a volunteer. June Rayburn is client supervisor and Russell Kersey is a board member. The treasurer is Ila Pittman.

Pittman said helping the needy is good for the soul.

“I consider it a blessing to come here and volunteer my service,” Pittman said. “It’s just a blessing.”

Board members also include Vice President Patricia Brand.

Donations to the Help Center come from a variety of places, according to Hayman. He said churches, schools, civic clubs, businesses and individuals support the center.

“The good Lord is running it all,” Hayman said. “It’s a mission of what the good Lord taught us. I stress giving at Thanksgiving once a year, but Thanksgiving is every day here.”

Food is distributed on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to noon. Hayman said the center assisted 250 families before Katrina hit. The center is in its fourth building in 27 years.

“Katrina changed everything,” Hayman said. “As we grow, we need more and more help. We always invite people to come see us because seeing is believing.”