When Hurricane Barry hit Iberia Parish in July, it caused more than 30,000 electrical outages, leaving about 87 percent of the parish without power for several days.
That power outage hit the Solomon House Food Bank on Center Street hard, spoiling over 1,000 pounds of food meant for the community. The pantry’s freezers held their own, but the refrigerators could not maintain a proper temperature throughout the power outage to insure the quality of the food.
On Thursday, State Farm Insurance stepped in to make sure that won’t happen in the next storm. The company provided a $19,500 grant to Solomon House to purchase a new generator. With the grant, the food bank will be able to serve the people of Iberia Parish before, during and after a disaster, Solomon House officials said.
“We go by the Federal Food Safety Guidelines,” Solomon House Executive Director Ellen Nora said after Hurricane Barry passed. “We are supposed to keep refrigerated foods below 40 degrees. When it hits 41, we have no choice but to get rid of it.”
State Farm is not the first company to step up after Hurricane Barry’s power outages caused food banks to lose their stores. In July, Cleco presented Solomon House with a $5,000 check to help replace the perishables lost in the storm. The charity then shared some of the food purchased through that gift with other non-profits in the area.
Without generators, the food pantry would continually be in jeopardy of losses from extended power outages, impacting and disrupting families that already need additional assistance, potentially pushing some into homelessness.
The food bank serves 455 families, providing each with more than 480 pounds of food annually. It also serves walk-in clients and helps to provide food to other local charities serving those in need.