The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

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The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Faculty, students take stand against local food insecurity

Shubrat Simkhada
A student works with an attendee with sorting boxes.

As an outreach manager at a local youth center, Gina White witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of poverty on her community. Now, White can target causes close to her heart as ULM’s Global and Multicultural Affairs director.

 The Office of Global and Multicultural Affairs plans an annual day of service to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. This year, White knew she wanted to combat food insecurity in Monroe. 

 The United States Department of Agriculture states that food insecurity occurs when people lack access to sufficient meals. Food insecurity runs rampant in low-income rural areas, such as Northeast Louisiana.  

 According to the Northeast Louisiana Food Bank, 1 in 7 Northeast Louisiana residents, including 1 in 4 children, are at risk of hunger. 14.5% of Ouachita Parish faces food insecurity daily. 

  “There is no face to hunger,” Taylor Costa, marketing director for Northeast Louisiana Food Bank, said. “It can be a neighbor, coworker, or a coworker’s child —anyone can struggle with hunger in our community, and that’s why it’s important for everyone to help.” 

Working with the Northeast Louisiana Food Bank, ULM hosted a food drive in early January. University officials asked students and faculty to donate canned goods. The food bank also collected paper products and personal care items. 

 Students and faculty organized the donated items during the MLK Day of Service. The food bank distributed the packages to different food pantries and soup kitchens within the region.  

Sophomore toxicology major Ella Guillot believes students should take opportunities such as the MLK Day of Service to give back to Monroe.  

“I believe that we, as students at ULM, play a unique role in our community,” Guillot said. “When we have the chance to serve, we should take it.”

The Northeast Louisiana Food Bank services 12 parishes, stretching from Tensas Parish to Union Parish. Each processing center sponsors feeding programs for residents of all ages. 

The BackPack for Kids program provides free meals to elementary students. The Senior Assistance Program helps elderly people receive fresh and non-perishable groceries each month.

The Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana distributes 6 million meals annually, feeding 25 thousand people monthly. 

 “When you help or do any amount of service, it changes many lives,” Donna Faulkenberry, a food acquisitions coordinator for the Northeast Louisiana Food Bank, said.

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