We appreciate each person who generously gives so that we can feed our neighbors who face hunger. Angie O’Pry Blades is a local business owner who goes above and beyond in her support of the Food Bank. We sat down with Angie to learn more about her and the ways she gives.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family:
I moved to Monroe with my family when I was in junior high. I graduated from St. Frederick High School and NLU (ULM) with a degree in Home Economics. That led me to a career as owner of Fiesta Nutrition Center in Monroe (retail natural foods, vitamin supplements, and café) for the past 41 years. My husband, Jerry Blades, Jr., is employed at Century Link in Monroe as a systems engineer. We live near the ULM campus and enjoy activities at the University, gardening, cooking, fishing, and being with family.
How long have you been a Food Bank supporter?
My store and I have been a supporter for the past several years. I really became interested on the recommendation of my parents who have been supporters and felt very good about the management and far-reaching service of the Food Bank.
In what ways do you choose to support the Food Bank?
Fiesta Nutrition has made monetary donations and donations of food products that are a fit for the focus of the Food Bank. Recently we were able to donate used freezer equipment to satellite food pantries in the coverage area. We can also offer donations of foods for people with special dietary needs (gluten-free, for example) that cannot afford them.
On a personal level, I am on the committee for the EMPTY BOWLS fundraiser event held each January. My café participates with other local restaurants and artists to raise funds as well as being a monetary title sponsor.
Why do you choose to support your community through the Food Bank of NELA?
I have always been impressed with the professionalism of the staff as good money managers, with the critical responsibility of transparency within the organization. The staff makes great use of social media to promote clever events to make the warehouse volunteer tasks easy and fun. They are able to garner support from the whole community to offer time to volunteer to make it all happen. It takes much to INSPIRE people to volunteer, and they do a good job of it. This goes a long way in keeping operating costs down. The template they use for management mirrors a successful business and that’s how this organization will thrive for helping future generations.
What do you wish other people knew about the Food Bank?
If you want to see more information and ratings of charities from a third-party, check out the website:
www.charitynavigator.com. The Food Bank’s reputation is obvious with its excellent ratings.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about supporting the Food Bank?
Many of the people being helped never dreamed that they would not know where their next meal would come from. Life happens. In the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if the drop was not in the ocean, I think the ocean would be less because of the missing drop.”