We’re ending our month of feeding highlights with Louisiana. The Salvation Army locations throughout Louisiana provided thousands of meals and groceries to neighbors in need last year. The Shreveport Corps distributed a total of 85,842 of those meals and the Baton Rouge Corps distributed 95,948.
These two Corps display extraordinary participation in their communities by sending canteens out into extreme temperatures, community holiday celebrations, providing additional food assistance to other local shelters and churches, and so much more. For above and beyond involvement, the Army is highlighting Baton Rouge and Shreveport for outstanding services within their communities.
Corps Officers: Major Donald Tekautz and Lieutenant Julie Tekautz
There are food pantries that operate on a daily or near-daily basis in the Baton Rouge area, so The Salvation Army provides an emergency food pantry that supplies food for up to a week for families. Appointments and drop-ins are welcome once a year, Monday – Friday 8 AM – 4:30 PM. The prepped boxes include enough food to feed 4-5 people for up to a week. Daily feedings are available for the shelter’s rehabilitation program (CSRC), and there are two meals a day for residents of the location.
The Baton Rouge location offers many community feeding opportunities, including Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, as well as annual spring and fall festivals. The spring festival includes an Easter egg hunt held at the corps office and a canteen that provides lunches for families that come out to enjoy the festivities. The fall festival takes place around Halloween and is a similar event involving harvest-themed fun for children and families. The corps also hosts a “Back to School” fair each July, where the canteen goes into the Baton Rouge community for mass feeding. Last year’s event had around 1,000 attendees.
Corps Officers: Lieutenants Jamaal and Tamarique Ellis
The Shreveport Corps has a total of 111 beds and offers breakfast to anyone who spends the night. Lunch and dinner are open to those same residents as well as any newcomers. The shelter provides 250-300 meals per day on average.
The corps takes the mobile canteen into the community multiple times a month, depending on the extremity of weather. The canteen runs more during hot and cold weather, supplying refreshing beverages during the summer months and warm soup and hot chocolate during the winter months. Lieutenant Jamaal Ellis says the shelter is aware that the homeless don’t always come to the Army for help. Hence, the Army goes to them, bringing substances to help sustain individuals through harsh temperatures. It has become a routine, and now individuals know when to expect The Salvation Army canteen and gather to receive assistance.
The Shreveport Corps does a monthly feeding at Holy Cross Hope House, a day shelter in downtown Shreveport where the homeless can shower and wash their clothes. Hope House doesn’t offer food, so the Army partners with them for food assistance. The Army also helps with feedings in the Cedar Grove community, an area with a large homeless and underprivileged population. The canteen goes out as needed for these partnerships.
A food pantry is also available in Shreveport, and groceries are provided twice a week to anyone who signs up through Social Services. The Shreveport Corps provided 480 boxes of groceries to the community last year.
Each night in the U.S., 17.4 million families go to bed hungry. An additional 6.9 million families experience low food security, not knowing where or how they’ll receive their next meal. The Salvation Army ALM collectively served over 1 million meals in 2019 and continues to help fight hunger. Our approach to supplying food is based on the needs of each community we serve. Although food insecurity is still a prominent issue in many areas, The Salvation Army is doing its part to help rid this curable circumstance.