Convoy of food delivers hope to working poor
"We want to do everything we can to help families get through these difficult times," Rev. Mo Seneca, pastor of First Assembly Church in Boutte said. "The Convoy of Hope pays for the entire event."
Seven local churches, First Assembly of Raceland, Life Fellowship in Bayou Gauche, First Assembly of God in Boutte, First Baptist Church in Luling, West St. Charles Baptist Church and True Vine Baptist Church in Hahnville, partnered with community service organizations to lend a hand to help those who are in need.
"Our goal is to ensure that 1,500 families in St. Charles Parish receive free groceries and unite them with various community service organizations to offer services for other areas of need they might have," Seneca said. "We want to target the working poor and those who don't have enough money to pay their bills by the end of the month."
Seneca says he's seen a disturbing trend since Hurricane Katrina.
"It's seems that more and more people in our area are struggling as prices are sky rocketing and their having difficulties making ends meet," he said. "The cost of living has gone up since the hurricane and we want to help families as much as we can."
According to census bureau statistics from 2004, 11 percent of the families in St. Charles Parish live below the poverty line.
"The entire community outreach project is being paid for by the Convoy of Hope organization," Seneca said. "We hosted the event right before Thanksgiving as a way to help families during this holiday season."
Seneca says families can participate in various activities geared towards improving their health and overall economic situation.
"Once you enter the area, different organizations will be represented," he said. "The Des Allemands Fire Department will be teaching fire safety, St. Charles Parish Department of Community Health Services will tell residents how to get assistance to pay rent, gas bills and water bills."
Other organizations include the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's office, who will be fingerprinting children as part of the missing and exploited children's network, LACHIP and WIC, will be there accepting applications for people needing to apply for heath insurance for their children and free food supplies, St. Charles Parish Public Library will be issuing library cards, St. Charles Parish Hospital will sponsor pre-mammogram screenings, blood pressure checks and blood glucose screening. The Red Cross Chapter in Luling will also be on hand to inform residents of all the services they can provide for them.
"We sent packets out to all of the churches asking for their support in getting the word out and we distributed over 14,000 flyers," Seneca said. "We will be serving a hot meal, spaghetti and meatballs, and families can come out get a hot meal and free groceries."
Seneca says this is the first year that the Convoy of Hope will offer help to the area and he hopes to serve over 1,000 families at the event.
"We will pass out groceries until they run out, even if it's after 2 p.m," he said.
Convoy of Hope was formed in 1994. It began by connecting churches with their communities to hold outreaches that would give away groceries, help people find jobs, and give hope. The founder of the organization, Hal Donaldson, started the organization after his parents were killed in a car wreck. Donaldson and his siblings went without many of life's basic necessities.
"That's why Mr. Donaldson formed this organization," Seneca said. "We plan on hosting a Convoy of Hope event annually and hope our first event this Saturday is successful and benefits many of the needy in our parish."
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