COVINGTON, La. — Dozens of volunteers gave up their Christmas morning on the Northshore to make sure less fortunate families actually had a holiday to celebrate.
The “Feeding the Needy” program has been cooking, packaging and delivering Christmas meals to families without them for 10 years.
Co-chair Craig Babylon said, "They're so thankful that someone just came by and said hello and Merry Christmas, let alone brought a meal, a meal that will last maybe a week."
While the Covington Rotary Club and the Covington Food Bank are the big backers behind putting the boxes – complete with turkey, pie and trimmings – together, it’s the dozens of volunteers who are the face of the program in the needy communities.
"We've had some just wonderful experiences, showing up at some houses where you know that's probably the only meal they're going to get today," said Doug Ferrer, whose family has volunteered for eight years.
High School senior Elise Ferrer added, "You really just saw poverty at its hardest. We saw families that were living in blue tarps and it just really hit home and it taught us the value of services leadership and really giving your heart to the community."
Each one of the boxes has enough food to feed five people. The boxes are going across the Northshore, as far as Hammond and all the way to Bogalusa. There are 1,500 boxes expected to serve 6,000 people and they're all going out on Christmas Day.
Every one received is whole-heartedly appreciated, whether at a home or on the street.
“It's good,” Dimitreis White said. “I appreciate it. You just don't know. It's a blessing."
"It's a good thing, it's very helpful," said Cheryl Keys, who’s received a meal from the program for four years.
Donald “Cha Cha” Williams said, "Eleven years. Been locked down 11 years. This is my first Christmas. I thank the Lord."
Regardless of giving or receiving, for everyone, it’s a Merry Christmas.
The program’s budget is only $40,000 every year. Donations from the community, along with donated time and kitchen space from local businesses and schools, help keep the program going. Any donations not used are turned over to the food bank.