Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – People in Southwest Louisiana are eager to help evacuees who are waiting it out here before they return to their hurricane-ravaged neighborhoods.
A year ago, after Hurricane Laura, there were times when people here were not certain where their next meal would come from.
Well, eventually, everyone got fed, and local restaurants and volunteers are paying it back to evacuees staying in the Lake Area.
Local restaurants and volunteers have collaborated to feed evacuees until they can return home.
Tuesday, it was butter chicken from Royal Tandoor. Owner Amanda Abbasi was there as they made 150 of their butter chicken.
“Butter chicken is more of a mild flavor in curry, and it’s with boneless chicken. So, it’s a favorite dish among our regular customers here,” Abbasi said as she filled to-go trays.
One batch came to a Wingate hotel where some evacuees are staying.
New Orleans East resident Brenda Coleman is one of those evacuees. She says her home is damaged but is not sure how badly.
“So far, all I know is the power still out, I got a big hole in the roof and I’m here alone, because I couldn’t go no further,” Coleman said.
She was also out of money for the hotel when Kelli Stawecki with Water’s Edge Church bought her three nights.
Aaron and Arlene Ford from the area south of Houma are grateful for the hospitality.
“What y’all went through, we’re going through,” Aaron said. “What we going through, y’all going through. So, it’s a hand helping a hand, a shoulder on a shoulder.”
“The community here, they know first-hand what we going through, because last year, they went through it,” Arlene said. “We prayed for them, and now, they’re praying for us.”
Wingate employee Sarah Laird says donations for the evacuees can be dropped off at 1731 W. Prien Lake Road.
“I’ve had people drop off food… I mean, it was just overwhelming, the outpouring of love, because we’ve been there,” Laird said. “We were there at last year at this time.”
Restaurant owner Paige Vidrine is encouraging area restaurants to do their part and help out where they can.
“What is food around here? It’s love,” Vidrine said. “Everyone knows it in Southwest Louisiana, that’s the way we show love.”
If you have supplies, food, money or anything else that might ease the burden of evacuees, there are numerous ways to get involved – some of which can be found HERE.
Written by Theresa Schmidt