Tunica-Biloxi Sponsored Food Drive Collects 82,055 Pounds of Food


MARKSVILLE, LA – The results of the 2023 KALB-TV Christmas Cheer Food Drive amounted to 82,055 pounds of non-perishable food collected from Avoyelles, Grant, Natchitoches, Rapides, and Vernon parish schools, according to Jayne Wright-Velez, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Central Louisiana. Sponsored by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and KALB-TV, local schools participated in the drive to help collect food for the Food Bank of Central Louisiana. The Avoyelles Parish weigh-in took place at Paragon Casino Resort, which is owned by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana.

“Paragon Casino Resort proudly supports the Christmas Cheer Food Drive along with our partners at the Central Louisiana Food Bank and KALB,” said Marshall Ray Sampson, General Manager of Paragon Casino Resort and Vice Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe. “Food insecurity is a growing problem in our community, and we all need to do our part, especially around the holidays, to ensure no neighbor goes hungry. The enduring support of the people of Avoyelles Parish has been instrumental in our growth, and we believe in reciprocating by making a positive impact in our community. Joining forces with the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and the Food Bank of Central Louisiana, we wish everyone a joyful holiday season and express our gratitude to all who contribute to this important cause.”

The total amount collected in Avoyelles parish was 10,580 pounds; 12,017 pounds in Grant parish; 5,242 pounds in Natchitoches parish; 31,208 pounds in Rapides parish; and 23,008 pounds in Vernon parish.  

The following schools led their parish in donations:

  • Avoyelles Parish – Lafargue Elementary (2,442 pounds) and Bunkie High School (4,829 pounds)
  • Grant Parish – South Grant Elementary School (5,533 pounds), Grant Junior High (568 pounds), and Georgetown High School (1,681 pounds)
  • Natchitoches Parish – East Natchitoches Elementary School (1,254 pounds), Natchitoches Magnet School (935 pounds), and Natchitoches Central High School (181 pounds).
  • Rapides Parish – Phoenix Magnet Elementary School (6,417 pounds), Pineville Junior High (3,078 pounds), and Tioga High School (2,816 pounds).  Phoenix Magnet Elementary School was also the top per capita school, collecting 20 pounds of food per student.
  • Vernon Parish – West Leesville Elementary School (3,084 pounds), Leesville Junior High School (3,054 pounds), and Rosepine High School (7,029 pounds). 

$8,000 in prize money from the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe will be distributed to these schools for their efforts to help the Food Bank of Central Louisiana.