With the start of a new year it’s a common practice to take stock in our lives and reflect on things we’d like to improve upon in the coming months ahead. For some, it means taking better care of one’s self by exercising more and eating less. For others a New Year’s resolution might be to reach out and help others. But the real question is how and where to volunteer in Bossier.
Where to Help
With the holidays slowly fading into a memory of food, family and fellowship, it’s a time of reflection on just how good we have it in Bossier. There are those for whom the holidays were just another day of trying to make ends meet. They are often invisible to most of us yet they are all around going through the motions of trying to get ahead. These folks have had something happen that is making life difficult, be it a job loss, a broken home, a debilitating illness; any number of reasons can set a person back and turn their world upside down, making any holiday all the more grim because they lack the resources to enjoy the special day.
Fortunately there are some groups who offer some form of assistance either with stocking the empty cupboard at home or providing a safe place to get a hot meal. Bossier City has a number of these groups.
Sharing the Harvest Community Kitchen – Airline Church of Christ
There are 20 to 25 people who volunteer consistently but anyone is welcome to participate. Janet Brown is a volunteer with the Shared Harvest Community Kitchen. She retired six years ago and volunteered.
“Jesus taught us to serve and this a service,” Brown said. “It’s a group effort and a lot of us just pull together to make it happen.”
Even though the community kitchen is open every week, it tends to be busier as the end of the month draws near.
“It’s very cyclical and often people have more month than they have money,” explained Brown. “So we typically see more people at the end of the month than at the first of the month.”
The Shared Harvest Community Kitchen is open all year Monday through Thursday every week but is closed during Thanksgiving and Christmas week and New Year’s day. Anyone or any organization that would like to help can contact the church or come to the kitchen during its hours 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Or search on Facebook for Shared Harvest Community Kitchen.
Location: 2125 Airline Dr
The Simple Church – A Decade of Giving Nondenominational
For 10 years, The Simple Church has been delivering boxes of food to pre-selected families in need.
Bill McConathy, Mission Pastor for the church, says the process can involve both church members and non-member volunteers.
“We’ll have volunteers fill a box with groceries and we’ll do a food distribution in both Shreveport and Bossier City,” McConathy explained. “Then volunteers will meet at CenturyLink where they’ll pick up a ham and then proceed with the food distribution. They will be given an address and act as a sort of ‘Secret Santa’ as they’ll stay anonymous when the delivery is made.”
The Simple Church distributes 1,000 boxes of food which is about $60,000 in value. If someone wishes to volunteer they can contact the church and leave a message.
Location: 601 Benton Road, Suite 2
Christ the King Catholic Church Food Pantry
The Christ the King Church Food Pantry has been in existence for more than 30 years
and is supported by the three Catholic churches in Bossier parish which include Christ The King, St. Jude’s, and Mary Queen of Peace. Most volunteers come from the three Catholic churches but nonmembers are welcome to volunteer. Jim Bogan has been volunteering with the Food Pantry for the past six years including four as its director.
“Last month we provided food to 293 homes, comprising of some 740 individuals,” explained Bogan. “The food pantry distributes a 100 pound box of food to approved families once a month.”
Persons needing assistance can apply at Christ the King Food Pantry in Bossier City but have to meet certain requirements.
“To be approved a person needs to provide a photo I.D., some proof of residence and
household income or SSI documents,” explained Bogan. “Once we get all that processed, we run their information through the OASIS computer program which links data from all the area food banks to make sure no one is already receiving food. This prevents ‘double-dipping’ from other food pantries.”
If a person doesn’t have all the necessary documents for approval, they won’t be turned away.
“No one will leave empty-handed,” says Bogan. “We’ll give them a ‘transit bag’ which has enough food for four meals. This will help them get by until they can get back with their documents to get approved for the monthly box of food.”
Christ the King’s Food Pantry program is meant to be supplemental food assistance to help. People can assist with the program either by volunteering, donating money or food items.
“We have people who donate hundreds of pounds of food each month,” says Bogan. “If anyone has anything they would care to donate or wants to learn how they can help, we encourage them to contact Christ the King Church in Bossier.”
Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9 a.m-noon
Location: 1000 Ogilivie Street
Contact: (318) 221-0238
For Seniors Only – Bossier Council On Aging
Seniors who live alone or lack family resources to help out can turn to Bossier Council on Aging to assist with some basic needs. There are three centers in Bossier Parish to provide fellowship, activities and congregate and home delivered meals. Tamara Crane is executive director and explains there are some eligibility requirements.
“First a potential client needs to contact us to receive an assessment of their status,” explained Crane. “Once we establish their need, we then can assist in a number of areas including home delivery of meals to a client for a small contribution.”
The Bossier Council on Aging can provide a homemaker service to provide assistance to persons without the ability to perform one or more of the following instrumental activities of daily living such as preparing meals, shopping for personal items, managing money, using the telephone or doing light housework. Clients who have no support available to them will receive priority based on their assessment score and a small client contribution is recommended at the time service is performed.
“Bossier Council on Aging can assist seniors in need in a variety of ways,” Crane explained. “The first thing is to get registered and assessed and see what areas we can help and get connected with others in a variety of ways.”
Basic qualifications for the Bossier Council on Aging services are age 60 or older and if a client is home bound, they can receive transportation assistance too. Social gatherings at each of the centers often involve meals and those interested should check the online calendar or contact the centers by phone. Lunch is served five days a week at the Bearkat center, four times a week at the Benton and Plain Dealing locations.
Location: 706 Bearkat Drive
Plain Dealing site
Location: 305 W. Palmetto
To find the nearest food bank in your area, click here.