Mary Lee Brown, 76, is her own sandwich.
Not pressed between slices of family like so many older Baton Rougeans, Brown picks up her box of food herself the last Wednesday of the month at the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, 5546 Choctaw Drive.
If you know someone who’d benefit from the food bank’s Adopt-A-Senior Program or would like to make a cash donation, call (225) 359-9940. A tax-deductible donation of $100 provides assistance once a month for a year for one person over the age of 65 or 60 if disabled. Eligibility is based on federal poverty guidelines.
The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank serves people in East and West Baton Rouge, Ascension, Assumption, East and West Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James and Tangipahoa parishes.
“And there’s a waiting list,” said Erin Swenson, the food bank’s vice president for communications, public relations and special events.
Brown can recite the contents of her last box of food as though she shopped for it herself.
“It’s plenty help,” she said. “I like it mixed. I get some of the fresh stuff, cabbage, ears of corn, lettuce, carrots. I’ve gotten cantaloupe. Sweet peas, canned tomatoes, spaghetti, you know, things I can cook with.”
A donation of $100 secures a minimum of a 40- to 50-pound box of nonperishable food items. Fresh produce is added to the mix when available.
Make checks payable to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, P.O. Box 2996, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Specify “Adopt-A-Senior” on the check’s memo line.
Make a credit-card donation on a secure online site, http://www.brfoodbank.org. Type “Adopt-A-Senior” in the drop-down menu.
Mitchell Davis picks up food for his mom, Ivy, 71.
Canned goods, pasta, tuna, rice, sometimes snap beans help Davis stretch her Supplemental Security Income payments. “The box helps a lot,” she said.
Billie Messer, 69, can’t drive because of a stroke.
“My daughter put me down for the food,” Messer said. “She picks it up for me.”
“I wish I could work,” Messer said. “I’m walking, and they said I wouldn’t.”