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Parish food bank gets big donation

VIDALIA — Christmas came early this year for the Food Bank of Central Louisiana, which in turn will spread the 15 tons of Christmas cheer to Concordia Parish in the coming weeks.

The food bank received 30,000 pounds of food Monday through a donation from Smithfield Foods and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union as part of a “Feeding the Hungry” tour.

The food bank distributes food and grocery products to families in need through a network of charitable agencies in 11 parishes, including Concordia.

The donations included a variety of products ranging from packs of bacon to ham shanks.

Executive Director Jayne Wright-Velez said the donation was unexpected, but welcomed with open arms.

“We rarely see a donation of this size around here, so it was great,” Wright-Velez said. “A donation like this really makes a difference during these tough economic times.”

Wright-Velez said her crews will work to organize and sort all the food to determine which products will go where.

“We wouldn’t want to send 40 pounds of ham shanks to a single household,” Wright-Velez said. “We started distribution (Wednesday) morning to the agencies closer to us, but it will be the first part of October before we can get to everyone.”

Feed the Hungry in Vidalia and Delta Store Front Mission in Ferriday are the two agencies in Concordia Parish that will soon receive a shipment of donations.

Linda Bonnette, director of Feed the Hungry in Vidalia, said she would be welcoming the shipment with open arms.

“You better believe we’re excited about it,” Bonnette said. “We’re just grateful to have any slice of the pie.”

Bonnette said roughly 99 percent of the food Feed the Hungry receives is from the Food Bank of Central Louisiana.

“We’ve been fortunate to get some food and donations from other places around town, but the food bank is where we get the majority of our food,” Bonnette said. “God’s been gracious to us, and this is just another example.”

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