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Giving back, one plate at a time

Members of the Christian United Alliance are partnering with local farmers to help provide free and healthy plate lunches to the community
Posted at 10:02 PM, Jun 28, 2024

When was the last time you had a home-cooked meal that went from farm to table?

Volunteers from Christian United Alliance, a 501-C3 non-profit are partnering with local farmers to help distribute free, weekly meals to residents in Jeff Davis and Evangeline Parish.

68-year-old Ville Platte resident Jerry Ardoin said he's been in the farming and gardening business since he was about seven years old.

As a result, Ardoin said he donates some of his fresh crops monthly to the Christian United Alliance to pay it forward to those in need.

"I try to use a minimum of herbicides," Ardoin said. "By me of having the time to attend to my crops daily, I can watch them and whenever I see something arise that may be detrimental, I usually try to tend to them either by hand."

Ardoin feels if he can eliminate any pests from his crops naturally, he prefers to use this method as opposed to spraying them with chemicals.

Once his crops grow in abundance, Ardoin said he delivers a variety of fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, okra and lettuce to Faye Guillory, a volunteer chef for Christian United Alliance.

Guillory said she helps to prepare everything from red beans and rice, to smoked sausage for the community.

She said the free, weekly plate lunches have been in high demand across Jeff Davis, Allen Parish and Evangeline Parishes too.

"Everywhere I go people ask me are you all going to be serving today?," Guillory said. "They ask, when is the soup kitchen going to open back? They enjoy that food."

While it's a team effort of farmers, chefs, and volunteers like Oberlin-native Randy Laverne to make the donations possible, Laverne said the reward is far greater than the sacrifice.

"It makes you feel good," Laverne said. "It makes you feel like you're doing something for the hometown that we didn't get to have. We feel like the people who were supposed to do it for us, they didn't do it, so we're going to try to do it and give back and help out the community."

If you'd like to volunteer with the Christian United Alliance, or donate to the non-profit, please visit the link below: