- In Louisiana, 1 in 4 children live in poverty and often don’t have access to nutritious food.
- In Baton Rouge, the poverty rate is 24% (compared to the state’s 19.9%)
- In the south Baton Rouge community of Gardere, the median income for a family of four is $18,000 – less than half the federal poverty level.
- 30% of families living in poverty choose between food and utilities.
- The demand for food assistance in the community is increasing weekly.
Feeding the Hungry of Baton Rouge
Hunger has no boundaries; it exists everywhere, even where you least expect it. Less than a mile from the affluent Highland Road/Bluebonnet area in south Baton Rouge, hunger is an ongoing problem.
Since its inception in 2012, The Shepherd’s Market client-choice food pantry has provided food for more than 1,600 unduplicated households. The Shepherd’s Market exists for the purpose of easing hunger and poverty in south Baton Rouge, as well as improving the quality of lives for families in need. The families come to the pantry once a month, where they choose the food and household items they need in a small grocery store-type setting.
While The Shepherd’s Market is an official partnering agency of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, it is necessary to supplement the food bank allotment in order to maintain a consistent food supply for the 400 families that are served each month. Some of the extra food comes from individual and corporate donations, school food drives, and church food drives, but the vast majority of the supplemental food is purchased with monetary donations.
“This is the only place for a single parent to get help. I’ve held a job for 15 years and still had trouble making things work. But then I found this place. It is a touch place when you cannot feed yourself or your children. Then you come here. It is just a wonderful experience.” – W. Meeks, pantry client