Bernice is a small town north of Ruston with a population of about 1,700. With almost 40% of the population there living in poverty, the need for food assistance is great. One of our community partners in Bernice is Christ Association Union. A group of caring individuals from the New Hopewell Baptist Church had been providing meals for shut-ins and special holiday meals for those in need, when four years ago, they decided to partner with the Food Bank of NELA to start offering a monthly grocery distribution.
Alma and Rhodell Montgomery along with Charlie Smith are the faces behind this wonderful pantry. All have retired from various careers and now lead a life of service to others. When they first started their food pantry, they served about 70 families. Now they say they provide food to about 180 families every month.
“We see a lot of children really in need,” said Alma, “it (the food pantry) really makes a big difference in our community.” Rhodell agreed and talked to us about many of the elderly in the community who just aren’t able to afford the nutritious meals they need.
According to Charlie, most people in Bernice know each other, but they may not realize the neighbors they see every day may be privately struggling to get enough to eat. “We’re here to help,” said Charlie. “My biggest enjoyment is when people come in to get a food bag and say ‘Oh thank you!’.”
We would like to thank you, our donors, for helping us provide the much needed food to programs like New Hopewell Baptist Church food pantry. A gift of just $10 will provide 55 meals to people in need. Together, we can ensure that no one in Northeast Louisiana goes hungry!