SLIDELL, La. -- Dozens of Christmas Eve meals are boxed and ready for delivery, but lately at Mt. Olive Feeding Ministry, that doesn't mean the food will be going anywhere soon.
The organization, which serves 1,200 meals every week, went down to only one of its three delivery vans a few days before Thanksgiving. A local church helped pick up their deliveries then, but the organization was worried about how to handle Christmas in almost the same shape.
“They were just a little bit worn out,” said Natasha Woods. “We had someone come and volunteer to fix the van, and he did that, but there's still some other items we need to purchase to work on the vans."
But Tuesday morning, they worried no more after the Leadership Northshore class of 2014 donated a gently used van as a Christmas gift.
“They were short a van so my classmates got together and donated our own money to buy a van so they'll have an additional van to provide these meals to the elderly in need," said Chad Duffaut, chief of Fire Prevention at St. Tammany Fire District #1 and a member of the 2014 Leadership Northshore class.
"The people that are here, they are, as you can see, they surprised me and I'm never speechless," said Woods.
The issue boiled down to getting the deliveries out on time. While the meals can be made together, many of these boxes had to sit and wait for the one van they had to go back and forth between neighborhoods. Now the organization is glad to change that. And Leadership Northshore, a group aimed at teaching people in the community everything their community has to offer, was glad to be a part of it.
“It really opens your eyes to what leadership is, what Slidell has to offer," said Capt. Bobby Juge with the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office and part of the 2014 Leadership Northshore class.
The ministry has been feeding the community for almost 30 years. If you’d like to learn more about Leadership Northshore, click here.