WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations, Nutrition, and Foreign Agriculture, today praised the efforts of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank representatives testified at a hearing coordinated by Rep. John Cooksey (R-LA) and Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA).
"The U.S. wastes more than 25% of the food we produce every year. Clearly, with a lot of effort and ingenuity we can get more food to dinner tables in this country. If every town had a food bank like the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, or the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank in Virginia, one out of every ten Americans might not be receiving food stamps. Thanks to John Cooksey and Richard Baker, we have had a chance to examine Baton Rouge's generous and efficient food distribution system," Goodlatte said.
"This kind of work is a partnership that I would like to see in every community - a kind of partnership that brings together a group of volunteers to donate 21,000 hours of their own time to help their fellow citizens. In 1996, 3,200 people per day were fed, 44 percent of those were children and 16 percent were elderly. And the cost is amazingly low. This food bank distributes $12 worth of food for every $1 it receives. No bureaucracy that I know of is so productive," Cooksey said.
Since 1984, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank has grown from a volunteer effort in a church parking lot to a 21,000 square foot facility with a network of over one hundred member agencies. In 1996, the Food Bank distributed 2,750,000 pounds of food, worth approximately $4,125,000, on a cash budget of $396,000. In addition, last year, the Food Bank distributed $76,000 worth of USDA-provided commodities. The Food Bank's administrative costs are less than 4%, and the organization distributes $12 worth of food for every $1 in contributions. 60% of the Food Bank's clients are children or elderly.
Goodlatte represents Virginia's Sixth Congressional District, which includes Roanoke, Lynchburg, and the Shenandoah Valley. Cooksey represents Louisiana's Fifth Congressional District, just northwest of Baton Rouge. Baker represents Louisiana's Sixth Congressional District, which includes Baton Rouge.