Second Harvest Food Bank prepares to respond to Ida

This will be the 6th natural disaster response in 18 months, in addition to pandemic response.

Posted: Aug 27, 2021 8:38 AM

LAFAYETTE, LA - Second Harvest Food Bank is actively preparing for the impact of what is expected to be Hurricane Ida in the coming days. Ida has the potential to be a major hurricane causing severe damage in our area, and our team is actively preparing to respond to this latest threat to Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana.

Second Harvest staff at the Lafayette facility are assessing emergency supplies and potential need, and are in contact with emergency officials in all parishes of the food bank’s regular service area. Ida is expected to make landfall Monday, August 8th somewhere along the northern Gulf Coast, with South Louisiana currently in the crosshairs of most models. Following Ida’s passage, Second Harvest is ready to roll with aid as soon as it is safe to do so, says Regional Director Paul Scelfo.

“We prepare year-round to handle any type of emergency, and this storm will just be the latest in a long line of disasters our team has handled,” he said. “We revise our emergency-response plan year-round for disasters in any month of the year, but we are on higher alert as we enter the busiest part of the 2021 hurricane season.

Second Harvest facilities currently house more than 3,500 disaster-readiness boxes, including Abbott Disaster Boxes containing Pedialyte, Zone Nutrition Bars, Ensure and Pediasure. Year-round, the food bank also maintains hundreds of thousands of pounds of other supplies ready to go at a moment’s notice, including more than 160,000 bottles of water.

Along with non-perishable disaster food goods, Second Harvest facilities feature two commercial-grade kitchens capable of producing more than 10,000 hot meals a day, along with the delivery infrastructure to make these meals possible to those most in need. The facilities have on hand as well 10,000 flash-frozen prepared disaster meals that can be rapidly heated for delivery or sent frozen to partners with the capability of heating on-site.

A typical pre-COVID year would see 35 to 40 million pounds of food flow into and out of Second Harvest’s doors. Since the beginning of the pandemic response in March 2020, Second Harvest has distributed more than 90 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 75 million meals. Of these, 16 million pounds of food were delivered to survivors of Hurricanes Laura and Delta across Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana.

In its forty-year history, Second Harvest has responded to dozens of disasters, both natural and man-made. “While we hope for the best, we are always preparing for the worst,” Scelfo said. “It is only with the help of our supporters, donors, and community partners that we are able to once again activate to face a major threat to our communities.”

How to help:

Funds: A monetary gift is the most efficient way to support our response to this emergency.

Go to no-hunger.org to make a tax-deductible donation. Every $1 raised will help us provide 4 meals to someone impacted by this latest South Louisiana emergency.

Food, water, disaster supplies: Donations of non-perishable food, especially proteins, are greatly appreciated. Bottled water and cleaning supplies will also be in high demand. Donations can be dropped off at 215 E. Pinhook Rd in Lafayette, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Volunteer: There are many volunteer opportunities following a disaster. The most important thing is to get pre-registered as a Second Harvest volunteer now, so that we will already have your contact information in our system. Register now at: no-hunger.org/volunteer

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