Pictured are volunteers as they sort through food items to be donated Monday at the White Elephant in Mamou. Among those pictured are Sonia Ardoin, Al Perry Thomas, and Hilda Edwards. (Gazette photo by Tony Marks)
Feeding the hungry
By: TONY MARKS
Several organizations, including the Hotel Cazan, St. Landry-Evangeline United Way, Second Harvest, and Sanctuary of Praise Church in Mamou teamed up on Monday, June 22, at the White Elephant to give away food to residents of Evangeline and St. Landry Parishes who were impacted by the coronavirus.
“This is for all of our residents not just the ones who have been getting food because they are low income,” said Camille Fontenot with the Hotel Cazan.
Fontenot said the volunteers were giving away meat, dairy products, dry groceries, fruits, and vegetables which were donated by Second Harvest.
“Everybody seems to be glad and thankful for what they are getting, and I think it’s excellent food,” said Fontenot. “It’s not something they are going to go home and throw away. They’re going to use it.”
Executive Director of St. Landry-Evangeline United Way Ginger Lecompte explained her organization has been looking at the data of people impacted by the coronavirus in the area.
“People have been greatly impacted by the coronavirus in all kinds of ways,” she stated. “We knew a lot of people were impacted with food insecurities before the pandemic. This virus just spotlighted the need. It’s so much greater than what we know or what we realized.”
She continued, “A lot of the working poor lost their jobs or their child care, so they’re in a precarious position right now. We see these food distribution drive-thrus as vital, and we’re doing them all across the Acadiana region.”
LeCompte recognized the volunteers who turned out to make the event a community effort. “If you look around,” she said, “you will see volunteers from every place. Some are United Way volunteers, some are church volunteers, and some of them are school volunteers. They all converged together to do this. I think that’s important to note.”
One of the volunteers was recent Mamou High School graduate Joseph Mabe. Even though he was tired from the work he was putting in, he expressed, “it’s nice to help out.” He added, “This is just how I was raised. We need to help people out. It’s important because people help you out so why not help back.”
For Mabe, it is important for other young people to get involved in other community activities. As he said, “We need all the help we can get. The more people we get involved then the more people we can reach and the more people we can help.”
Mabe concluded by asking, “When can we do this again?”