Learn Ways You Can Support Local Families Experiencing Hunger
When a family experiences hunger, it means much more than missing one meal. It means not knowing when their next meal will be — or having to decide between paying the electric bill or skipping dinners so their kids can eat. The stress of hunger impacts a person’s ability to learn and succeed, both on the job and in the classroom.
Right now, one in six people in Louisiana struggles with hunger. Sadly, the number is even higher for children, as one in four Louisiana children experiences food insecurity.
These statistics represent real people like 69-year-old Betty, who never thought she’d need help putting food on the table.
You can help local families experiencing hunger by volunteering. Browse the list below for ideas to get you started, and visit the United Way HandsOn Entergy Volunteer Center for more holiday volunteer opportunities addressing hunger and other important community issues.
6 Ways to Volunteer to End Hunger
1. Help deliver meals to seniors
When COVID-19 hit, the United Way HandsOn Entergy Volunteer Center launched into action to ensure high-risk community members, including older adults and individuals with disabilities, stayed safe and fed. The Serve Our Seniors program has delivered over 450,000 meals (and counting!) to Orleans Parish residents in need – a lifeline for many during this challenging time. You can support seniors by volunteering to help load meal boxes into cars. Sign up for a shift here.
2. Collect non-perishable food
Donating non-perishable food items or hosting a food drive in your neighborhood, at work, or among friends is a great way to give back. Families experiencing hunger rely on donated food at food pantries to help them stretch their budgets. Second Harvest Food Bank, one of our Community Partners, accepts food donations large and small! Learn more about hosting a food drive for Second Harvest here.
Tip: Focus on healthy foods like proteins and whole grains to increase access to healthy food for local families.
3. Sign up for a shift at a food bank
Even during the pandemic, food banks need healthy volunteers to sort donations, stock shelves, prepare meals, and serve food. Giving back by donating your time, even if it’s a few hours, will help you connect with your community and make a big impact. Our Daily Bread food bank in Tangipahoa Parish, another amazing United Way Community Partner, has weekly volunteer opportunities available at flexible times. Learn more here.
4. Write a lawmaker
Advocacy is a significant asset to the anti-hunger movement. You can help keep anti-hunger programs in place and encourage lawmakers to pass policies that prioritize access to healthy foods for families. Sign up to receive action alerts on future anti-hunger advocacy opportunities here.
5. Help at a community garden
Community gardens and farms are an important resource in providing healthier items, like fresh fruits and vegetables and eggs, to hungry families. Find local gardens in need of volunteers through the United Way HandsOn Entergy Volunteer Center.
Don’t have time to volunteer right now? Donate! United Way of Southeast Louisiana works with local organizations leading the fight against hunger. By donating, you are amplifying our collective impact in the community. For example, Second Harvest can stretch $1 into four meals through bulk purchasing.
You can also combine donations with any of the volunteer ideas above. If you are hosting a food drive, ask everyone to donate $1 with every item they bring in. Going the extra step can make a tremendous impact and build a stronger community!