July 5th, 2010
10:48 AM ET

Scenes from a new church food pantry in the Gulf

Editors note: CNN's Brad Hodges sent this report from the Gulf Coast:

The oil spill has hit Bayou La Batre, Alabama in a big way. Nearly everyone there depends on fishing and on the water for a living. At the moment, there are few sources of income.  Adults who've never been out of work and have always provided for their families are now standing in line in the Alabama heat to accept some free food.

The day we were there, two organizations–the Bay Area Food Bank and a group called BPSOS, short for the Boat People S.O.S. Committee–joined together to distribute food to the community at the St. Margaret Catholic Church.

[cnn-video url = http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/living/2010/06/30/sylvester.oil.al.food.bank.cnn%5D

The Bay Area Food Bank gathers food from grocery stores and, with corporate support and government grants, distributes it to the needy. There hadn’t been a need for a mobile pantry delivery to Bayou La Batre until the oil spill occurred.  

BPSOS is a national organization formed in 1980 to Vietnamese immigrants to the U.S. One-third of Bayou La Batre is Asian, including many Vietnamese.

Residents wait in line at the food pantry

Many people I talked to that day were hungry, concerned about their livelihood and the source of their next paycheck, but few were angry. Most said they’d be OK. Katrina had rocked their world, they said, but they eventually recovered.

They would get through this, too.  This was the life they knew, they said, and they'd never think of moving away. The water had always provided for them and they believe it will again in the future.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Gary

    If you grow food in a home or community garden, please visit http://www.AmpleHarvest.org to find a neighborhood food pantry eager for your excess harvest.

    Founded by a CNN Hero, AmpleHarvest.org is assisting more than 2,300 food pantries across all 50 states.

    In response to the Gulf crisis, AmpleHarvest.org is asking anyone who knows of a food pantry in their community to urge the pantry to get itself registered at AmpleHarvest.org to help assure that those who most need the assistance can get it.

    AmpleHarvest.org enables people to help their neighbors in need by reaching into their back yard instead of their back pocket.

    July 12, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  2. Cindy

    Why doesn't Chris Bosh or LeBron James take some of these $100 million plus salaries that they are going to get and help out? It kills me that hard working people like those in the Gulf are getting screwed out of their livelihood, while other people who simply play a game aren't doing anything to help.

    July 7, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
    • mabel

      How much of your income have you given? It should be incumbent upon all of us to help, not just those with mega-incomes.

      July 9, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  3. Donna

    Prayer works! It would be nice to organize a day of prayer for these people.

    July 7, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  4. Darlene

    While BPOS only does this ONCE a year or so Food Banks like Tri Coastal Community Outreach INC of Grand Bay Alabama is in the trenches EVERY DAY. Feeding and helping families in the Gulf Coast area through disaster after disaster.

    July 7, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  5. Gary

    Obama has screwed up N.A.S.A. ,healthcare,and so many other areas of our country. He had nothing to do with the B.P. spill and even though he responded late he wouldnt know how to help or fix anything.

    July 7, 2010 at 8:38 am |
    • chris

      "even though he responded late he wouldnt know how to help or fix anything".......That may be true, but Obama could be a BIG help to us down here on the Gulf Coast if his administration would just back down on their pointless and punitive drilling ban. Organizations that have a demonstrated record of safe operations should not be penalized just because some bozos at Deepwater Horizon decided to cut corners!

      July 11, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  6. Karen

    And this news is pushed down below the halfway mark on your page. You have a story on what the queen of Britain over the top of this one. This should be on top. Are we still just going to minimalize the oil spill and Katrina on New Orleans ......... This is not just a shame on our Presidents, but also on us for just accepting this.

    July 6, 2010 at 6:07 am |
    • Coupon Cook

      I agree that we should be publicizing this a little more still. but I really have to add, Katrina didn't just happen to New Orleans. I live in Mobile and we were affected with major flooding, loss of businesses, homes, and livelihoods. Gulfport MS was in the same position as New Orleans and no one NO One came to help those people. Lets don't focus on one area. We need to know who else is affected, and how we can help.

      July 12, 2010 at 9:32 am |
  7. lee miles

    Did Bush give food to thousands of innocent Iraqi families he displaced and made them refugees in their own country? This looks like a payback from nature. Why should BP pay? It was an industrial accident.

    July 6, 2010 at 5:47 am |
    • fromtheoilspill

      Accident yes....BUT they are still responsible. had they followed the proper safety guidlines from the get go none of this would happen. they are %100 responsible and should be held accountable for that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! While the big wigs are sailing and playing golf my family is looking at the tragedy that surronds us on a daily basis. or better yet why don't they use the multi-million dollars they have spent on some cheesy commercial to say "he's sorry" and feed and employee those of us that are deeply affected!!! and i think he should be charged with murder for every poor animal that's been kiiled horribly because of this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      July 6, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  8. Jude Moriarty

    HEY another idea -what are we giving (down payment) Is real 3 bill for part of the PROMISED 30 bill? Israel has a
    standard of living BETTER than US / no people standing in food lines – people living under bridges / HUH and note how the Senators went home (big fat paychecks) for the 4th/ and won't be back until JULY 14 – anybody out there ever get two weeks off for (same as Memorial day) for a holiday. NO time to vote for extending unemployment – 34 billion BUT they did vote 37 billion for the wasteland of Afghanistan/ where our soldiers are HUNGRY (not eating like Senators at banquet tables in the Capital building dining hall) eating only 2 MREs a day – PARENTS having to send food.

    July 5, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
    • Gary

      agreen why are we sending billions to Isreal when we owe China billions???

      July 7, 2010 at 9:33 am |
  9. Arrow

    This should be a wake up call to all of us to store food. 2 years minimum.

    July 5, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  10. govwatch

    Hey, I know! Instead of giving 15 million dollars to the Auschwitz museum, why don't we use American taxpayer money to feed Americans??????? Wow, what a novel idea. It'll never fly in Congress. No global political value in feeding our own...

    July 5, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
    • Lisa

      AMEN!! Agreed 1000%

      July 5, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
  11. MarylandMom

    BP should be there providing everything these people need. It's disgusting this is happening to these hard working people. BP should be dismantled and everything given to those affected by this.

    July 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
    • Kate

      Unfortunately, I doubt there would be enough to do that. Thank the republicans and their insistence that corporations should be free to do whatever they wish with our collective resources unfettered by oversight or regulations.

      July 7, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
    • angelad496

      I completely agree with you..BP needs to brought down even MORE.

      July 9, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.