Rotary Club Thanksgiving baskets called a blessing

Need for food growing in St. Charles Parish

Roy Clements of Montz didn’t expect the Rotary Club of St. Charles’ Thanksgiving basket of food that came to his family’s door last Wednesday, but he was visibly appreciative of getting it.

“This year, it means a whole lot to us,” Clements said. “I just recently lost my job.”

The baskets, loaded with a turkey and all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal, were among 75 delivered throughout St. Charles Parish by Rotary Club members.

For Clements and his family, including his wife and two children, this help is considerably welcome, particularly as he continues looking for another job in a challenging economy.

“We’re making it pay check to pay check,” he said.

Also in Montz nearby, Jeannie Tamburello said she didn’t know they were getting a basket either, but it will certainly help their Thanksgiving with her husband being disabled.

Tamburello said they were going to her sister’s home for the holiday, but now she can bring something for the meal, too.Nearby, in the same area, Deborah Cawlfield asked Rotary member Thomas Hines, who delivered the basket, to bless everyone for bringing the food to her and her son.

“It’s a blessing actually because I didn’t have no turkey or nothing,” Cawlfield said.

Rotary President Jeannine Granier said these are the most baskets that she’s aware of the organization has delivered for Thanksgiving, which is an accomplishment that she maintained is made possible by community support and Rotarian donations.

Granier praised Walmart for donating the baskets, which made it more convenient to deliver the food and serves as an additional useful item to basket recipients.

To begin the distribution, Rotary Club members met at the River Road in Luling last Wednesday to finishing making the baskets and organize the deliveries.

Granier praised Stephanie Varnes, the group’s community service chairwoman, for coordinating the basket project. The group also worked with Debra Rieder, executive director of Assistance for Single Parents, as a new source to identify basket recipients.

According to Granier, “The level of food insecurity in our parish is huge and often times only meets needs during the holidays.”

But she also said it’s year round problem in the parish that the Rotary Club wants to help address.

The group is organizing  a new event called “Pedals for Pantries” for March of next year.

The bicycling event also would highlight the Rotary Foundation’s 100th anniversary, as well as could become a yearly food drive to restock food pantries after the holidays, Granier said.

“It will be a multi-club district project,” she added. In addition to the Rotary Club, any area organization is invited to help the event, which is aimed at replenishing area food pantries, as well as be a fun event, she said.

But, without question, Granier said they want to ensure more people have food who need it.

In Norco, Juney Smith, whose children are age 5 to 13, repeatedly thanked Rotary Club member Thomas Hines for delivering their basket.

Smith told Hines, “I’m a single parent with six kids so this is totally a blessing.”

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