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Tenley Bordelon, 16, of Hessmer displays her community food pantry for the needy. The pantry cabinet has been installed outside the Rateau Center at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Hessmer. {Photo courtesy of Rebecca Pollock}

LaSAS student creates pantry for those in need

Many people say Christmas is more about giving than receiving, but truth be told they are really more interested in “what Santa brought” them. That’s just basic human nature. Tenley Bordelon, a 16-year-old LaSAS junior, is one who doesn’t just “talk the talk” but also “walks the walk” of giving to those in need.

Her attitude just might be contagious. While working on other fundraising projects for worthwhile causes, Tenley said she realized “how much I have and how others are in need. I wanted to do something to give back to my community and help those who need help.”

Earlier this school year the Hessmer teen set up a community pantry box at the Rateau Center of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Hessmer. The church is on La. Hwy 115. The pantry box is stocked with non-perishable food items such as canned goods, dry beans and rice. There are also some toiletries, clothes, blankets and assorted other items.

Plastic bags are in the box for those using the pantry to take what they need.


Tenley’s father, Adam Bordelon, built the pantry box. She painted it.

“She is always doing things like that,” he said. “She is always trying to help. As soon as one project is over, she asks if there is anything else she can do.

“I’m very proud of her, that’s for sure,” he added.

The pantry is based on a simple concept: “take what you need and give what you can.”

It has been very successful and seldom has the pantry been bare.

Her mother, Rebecca Pollock, said she is proud of her daughter for undertaking the pantry project. “She has a heart to help others and knows there are people in need who need help,” Pollock said. “She understands that life is not just about what we need, but what others need -- especially around the holidays.


“The Hessmer community, especially the church community, has come together to support the pantry, bringing items to keep it stocked,” she added.

Her fundraising efforts and the food pantry are not Tenley’s only activities. She is active in LaSAS’ FFA, 4-H and student council.

She was also crowned Miss Teen Louisiana Agribusiness for 2020 earlier this year.Tenley said she saw a pantry box on social media and decided she wanted to establish one in her community.

The pantry box program allows those in need to maintain some degree of anonymity because some people may not want others to know they are in a desperate situation, Tenley added.

“I think it helps people who need something but won’t speak up for themselves to let others know they need help,” Tenley said. “I hope this shows them that there is always a place they can go for help when they have a need.”


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