During the past year, Second Harvest staff and volunteers have witnessed countless neighbors impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. Thousands have been people who have never visited a food pantry and they tell us, “I never thought I’d need help with food for my family.”
Thankfully, we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, with vaccines, businesses reopening, and grandparents able to hug their grandchildren after what felt like a lifetime apart. But as Louisiana and our nation slowly return to something like “normal,” some parts of our economy like the tourism and convention business will take many more months to recover. Many businesses have closed for good. Behind the scenes, thousands in our area continue to deal with the long-term effects of this disease. And hunger will remain an everyday emergency for so many people in our communities.
While Second Harvest is experienced in responding to disasters and emergencies like the pandemic, for nearly forty years our main focus has been the day-to-day job of helping hundreds of thousands of people access food and better nutrition. Thanks to you, that mission will continue as it has since 1982.
So many people who are seeking help with food are going through a difficult life event. One 77-year old woman from Lafayette told us recently, “We lost my husband to cancer, and all our savings went to his treatments before he died.” Often, seniors like her are living on fixed incomes and only qualify for less than $100 a month in food stamps.
Thousands of people suddenly find themselves in the same boat every week of the year. The past year has been a test of our strength as a community, and you have made a difference by helping Second Harvest respond during these extraordinary circumstances. We will face more challenges to come in hurricanes, storms, freezes and flooding. Absolutely everything Second Harvest does in “normal” days and during emergencies is because people like you donated time, money, food, and prayers.
On behalf of everyone we serve, thank you for your trust in our mission and your generosity.
President and CEO, Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans & Acadiana