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Nederland Chamber’s “Put it on the Porch” effort collects food for those in need

NEDERLAND — Diana LaBorde was feeling powerless, wondering what she and community members could do to help others in this time of COVID-19 when an idea struck her.

“While all of this is going on, we recognized a lot of people are being laid off or furloughed,” she said. “Some paychecks have stopped, and the stimulus checks are coming in slowly.”

That’s how “Put it on the Porch” was born.

LaBorde reached out to chamber members and the community and is asking them to stop by the chamber’s porch, 1515 Boston Ave. in Nederland, and drop off a non-perishable food donation.

Each day, a volunteer from Community Care Prayer Outreach retrieves the donations, which are then distributed to those in need locally.

“You always feel better when you are helping someone else,” LaBorde said. “You don’t have to come in contact with anyone. There is a big tote on the porch. Come by on your golf cart, let you kids get out and drop off the donation.”

Community Care Prayer Outreach is a Christ-centered non-profit that helps those in need with food distribution, utility assistance, prayer support and more.

Libby Arnold, executive director, said there is a need and she believes that need is growing.

Arnold said since late March Community Care Prayer Outreach has assisted 89 families, which translates to 222 individuals, with food.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of people with big families having a hard time because they can’t buy food,” Arnold said. “A lot of places are still running short on food even if they have money. They have no way to buy it.”

The agency purchases food from the South East Texas Food Bank at about 16 cents per pound, and since this is a national disaster, also receives their order as a donation from the Food Bank.

Those needing assistance can call 409-724-0163 from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Monday though Thursday and an application will be taken over the phone.

Since there can be no contact, the folks at Community Care Prayer Outreach will bring a basket of food outside about 6 feet from the vehicle so they are not exposed. The client gets out of the vehicle, loads the food and leaves the basket. Arnold and staff are trained and wear face masks and gloves. The basket is sanitized.

“We are seeing more people than normal, but it’s not as bad as it’s going to get,” Arnold said. “People will start coming and wanting food. Everybody is not going to buy groceries with the government check (stimulus check). They have rent, utilities and bills to pay.”