BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) Kristina Dezendorf is the founder of The Baton Rouge Moms Network.

It’s a resource helping to tackle food insecurity.

“We have really grown since we first started,” said Dezendorf.

Dezendorf is a graduate student at Louisiana State University. In January 2021, she was searching for an internship, but there were very few options because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was charged with creating a community service project. I had already created the Moms of Baton Rouge Facebook group. We started chatting, and I noticed there was a need. Some moms didn’t have transportation and others would be at work during pantry hours. So, I came up with The Baton Rouge Moms Network,” said Dezendorf. “We started making our first deliveries of cereal, grits, snack foods, goldfish, diapers, wipes, hygiene products and cleaning supplies in February 2021.”

The network has about 25 volunteers, and they make about 30 delivers a month. They also throw birthday parties for children who are wards of the state, in foster care, or SNAP recipients.

Dezendorf said,”We choose usually 9 to 14-year-old children who might be forgotten otherwise, and we don’t just say everybody’s getting a unicorn party. We talk to their caretaker. We ask, ‘What do they want on their wish-list?’ We get it for them. We have even thrown TikTok parties. We really try to make them feel special on their birthdays.”

The network is very personal for Dezendorf.

“I got pregnant and had a baby at 19. I was single. I had to go through school. I grew up with my grandparents, and they passed away when the baby was fairly young. So, I was on my own. I know how hard it is for a single mom, any mom really to access what they need, giving resources to their kids. It’s a full time job,” said Dezendorf.

She also provides moms with resources for mental health and positive parenting.

Dezendorf will graduate from LSU Friday, December 16 with her Master’s in Social Work.