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Health & Human Services launches questionnaire: Summer Feeding, other services support families through pandemic

LAPLACE — Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the St. John Parish Department of Health and Human services has continued to provide critical assistance to clients via phone intake, outdoor application availability and online services.

The Department of Health and Human Services has developed a short questionnaire to determine the needs of the St. John the Baptist Parish community. All information submitted will be kept confidential, and names are not required. The survey can be accessed at http://st-john-parish.com/dhhs-community-needs-assessment-questionnaire/.

DHHS Director Kali Price said the survey is open to all St. John Parish residents.

“The goal of the survey is to identify the needs of our residents by collecting data that will assist in evaluating the department’s current delivery of services while addressing issues and concerns within the community,” Price said. “The survey benefits the community because it results in state and federal funding to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in our community.”

DHHS combats the impact of poverty by offering rental and mortgage assistance, transportation assistance, LIHEAP energy assistance, emergency utility assistance, food vouchers and a summer feeding program for children, among other services.
The summer feeding program was especially important this year, as many families struggle with food insecurity and job loss amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 program began June 15 and will wrap up on Wednesday, Aug. 5. According to St. John Parish administration, 1,912 children participated in the program and received a combined total of 19,120 meals per week.

Food vendor Three O’clock Company delivered a week’s worth of breakfasts and lunches to the Homer Joseph Building three days per week. Summer Feeding staff sorted the meals and loaded them into cargo vans contracted by QCS Logistics, who then delivered them to registered participants’ homes.

This delivery method ensured social distancing protocols were met for the safety of all participants.

Another ongoing DHHS project is the LIHEAP Energy Assistance Program, which is offered periodically throughout the year.

All applicants must demonstrate proof of permanent residence in St. John Parish and meet income guidelines identified by the state. The applicant must also provide income for one month or four consecutive pay stubs, a utility bill (heating/cooling), social security cards for everyone living in the household, termination records (if applicant has been recently laid off) and an ID/driver’s license. SNAP recipients must present household electronic notice, and self-employed individuals must provide a recent federal income tax return.

DHHS will assign and schedule appointments between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 7. All interested residents should call the Phone Bank at 985-536-1024.

Price said she is passionate about Health and Human Services because she feels that her purpose and passion in life is to serve others in need.

“My future plans for the department are to expand current programs and create new programs geared towards healthy living, financial literacy and education,” Price said.

DHHS can be reached at 985-536-4955.

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