The Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana has created several programs to deal with childhood hunger in the region.

Programs for the Food Bank range from school supplies and lunches to emergency boxes of food for families.

Through the Food Bank of NELA's Backpack Program, at least 420 students from nine local schools received a backpack in 2013. The backpacks were given out every Friday and students were selected from the Free and Reduced Lunch Program with the help of teachers, staff and school employees.

Through the Kid's Cabinet School Pantry Program, 1,740 students in five schools in Madison Parish received 136,840 pounds of food over the school year. Madison Parish was chosen because 95 percent of the students qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch Programs.

According to an official press release, 192 emergency boxes of food were distributed in June to 273 people reaching 182 households with an average income of $543 per month.

“The number of children in our nation and our state who are going hungry is a crisis we can't afford to ignore,” Richard King, executive director of the Food Bank of NELA, said. “While poverty is a multi-pronged issue, if we don't do our part to break the cycle it will continue to perpetuate itself. We are increasing our focus on children's programs to increase their chances of becoming productive adults, and we need community support to make that a reality.”

The Food Bank of NELA is an organization with a mission to battle hunger and improve the wellness of people in Morehouse Parish and the other 11 parishes in the region the organization serves.

The Food Bank accepts donations of food, money or time. To contact them, call 322.3567.