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United Way, Second Harvest Food Bank team up to feed SWLA again

Updated: Jul. 16, 2020 at 5:41 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - United Way of Southwest Louisiana and Second Harvest Food Bank kicked off its sixth food distribution event in Lake Charles with help from more local donors and partners.

The event fed 700 cars who lined up as early as 5 a.m. on Thursday at the Lake Charles Civic Center to receive free groceries.

Lake Charles resident Winnie Jordan waited for three hours at her first giveaway.

“I heard about [the event] from my sister,” Jordan said. “Came to get the extra help. Little bit more groceries, you know.”

Second Harvest Food Bank’s John Dziurgot said he expects the event to feed up to 1100-1200 families. Each car gets the same amount of food, substantial enough to feed a household for several days.

“We’re just a supplement, we’re not going to provide everything the family needs,” Dziurgot said. “So this is just maybe a little help and little hope to get them through.”

From the first event in April, United Way’s Denise Durel said the events have shown just how big of a need there is for food in Southwest Louisiana.

“It’s amazing that our donors and our partners and our volunteers have come together to make this happen, but it really just makes you want to be able to do more,” Durel said. “That’s really what we’ve done through this Covid situation...where there’s a gap, we’re in a need, we’re gonna try to fill it in any way and shape that we can.”

The type of food distributed can vary by event depending what’s donated, but Durel said Thursday they have protein, fruits and vegetables, perishables and dairy products available.

“It’s always kind of a nice little surprise for us,” Durel said. “When it comes off the trucks for us to be able to see, because that’s the first indication we have what the food is gonna be for today.”

United Way of SWLA and Second Harvest Food Bank host a 6th food distribution event.
United Way of SWLA and Second Harvest Food Bank host a 6th food distribution event.(KPLC)

Volunteers in different colored shirts moved around the area - unloading boxes, packing food, instructing drivers.

Erin Moss, 21, volunteered through Harbor Hospice, bagging up donations before putting things in people’s car.

“I just know [COVID-19] has affected a lot of people in the community and I just thought, if I had the ability to come out and help, I should.”

Moss said the bags included 5 to 6 items of big and small products.

United Way of SWLA’s next food distribution event will be on July 30 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Beauregard Parish Fair Grounds.

Durel said organizers are trying to hold these events twice a month for as long as they can.

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