Food Bank of NW Louisiana Receives $150K Donation from BHP Billiton

Mayors Walker & Glover Help Pack Food Boxes for the Senior Program
By: Tom Pace, Executive Editor & Radio Host The Promise 90.7FM

They were all smiles at the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana Thursday, September 4th, as BHP Billiton presented the non-profit organization a check for a three-year investment program totaling $150,000 to support the Backpack and Senior Programs across the seven-parish area.

In an extremely hot distribution area inside the Food Bank’s loading dock, some 50 folks were fanning themselves while watching the donation ceremonies unfold.

“The BHP Billiton gift could not have come at a better time,” said Martha Marak, Executive Director of the Food Bank. “Their donation will provide 225 food insecure children with food on the weekend for each school year, and 1,200 seniors with food each month, We are extremely grateful for this donation.”

Mayors Lorenz “Lo” Walker of Bossier City, and Cedric Glover of Shreveport issued a joint proclamation on “Elected Officials Day” that officially launched the food box campaign for the Senior Program as part of the local effort in a nation-wide movement titled “Hunger Action Month” (food banks and volunteers working to solve hunger).

The two mayors joined a large group of elected officials, that included Bossier State Rep. Henry Burns, plus other community leaders, who helped pack special Senior Program boxes of food, weighing 45 pounds each.

“One of our core values at BHP Billiton is sustainability in the communities we serve,” noted Geraldine Slattery, General Manager of BHP Billiton’s Production Units in the Haynesville and Fayetteville Shales. “Key to this region’s sustainability is confronting hunger, particularly among children and the elderly.”

Investing in the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana is aligned with BHP Billiton’s company charter values by finding ways to address and conquer the food insecurity rates among children and seniors, high poverty rates, and obesity and obesity-related illnesses.

Backpack Program:
Chronically hungry children are provided with a backpack of food to take home for the weekend and holidays. Each 7 – 10 pound weekly bag includes items such as granola bars, fruit juice and pop top canned food.

Senior Program:
Designed to help the elderly s-t-r-e-t-c-h their food dollars, low income seniors who are 65 and older or 55 and older with a disability receive a monthly box of non-perishable groceries

• Louisiana is ranked 41st among 50 states in its District of Columbia ranking of “2014 Best and Worst States for Underprivileged Children”. The state ranks 37th in early foundations and economic well-being.
o 37th in health
o 49th in education
• Louisiana ranks 21st in the percentage of children covered by health insurance, but infant death and poor health outcomes diminish the health factor.
o 48th in infant deaths – 9 out of every 1000 children born alive in Louisiana will die before their first birthday.
• Louisiana ranks 18th in the nation for children maltreated.
• Louisiana ranks 49th in the single parent household.
• Louisiana ranks 47th in the percentage of children living in families with incomes at or below the federal poverty level during a 12-month period.
• Louisiana ranks 45th in low-income families relying on federal cash assistance and food stamps.
• Louisiana ranks as having the 48th worst public school system.

*source – WalletHub, a national study group that addresses economic and social state issues.