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Food pantry extends ‘Feed a Family’

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After five years of serving Thanksgiving meals to families in need, the Feed a Family program is doubling down this holiday season to ensure that everyone can have a Christmas dinner.

Through this program, the Joe LeBlanc Food Pantry has served thousands of meals to local families on Thanksgiving alone. This year’s goal: serve 600 families on Thanksgiving and 600 on Christmas.

Jessica Lewis, director of the food pantry, said the generous giving in 2016 allowed for the program’s Christmas expansion.

“Every year it has grown,” she said. “Last year our goal was blown out of the water pretty early on. That gave us enough time to prepare something extra for Christmas with the additional funds that came in.”

Lewis said the program got its start after she noticed that one of the pantry’s elderly clients had no food for Thanksgiving.

“I knew that her family was not checking on her regularly,” she said. “That year we took her a prepared meal and made sure she was fed for the holidays. I decided then that we needed to make sure all of our clients would have a meal.”

The next year Feed a Family kicked off in earnest, serving 300 families via $20 sponsorships.

“We just kind of sat back and watched God do His thing,” Lewis said.

This year, Feed a Family fully met its 600-family goal, both in donation and distribution. As of Thursday afternoon, 324 Christmas sponsorships have been filled.

Donations are still being accepted through December 15. It costs $20 to sponsor a family this Christmas, and that amount covers everything from turkey to desert.

“This program is an opportunity for us to show love,” Lewis said. “Minden is a very giving community, and any time they are given a chance to meet a need, they do it.”

Distribution will take place December 16 from 9 a.m. to noon at the food pantry, 814 Constable St.

People can donate either by mailing in their donation marked “Feed a Family” to 814 Constable St., Minden, LA 71055 or through PayPal at joeleblancfoodbank@yahoo.com. Donations are tax deductible.

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