Two Christian groups in New Iberia are fulfilling their calling by serving the underprivileged this Thanksgiving.
Iberia Christian Ministerial Federation (ICMF) and You’re A Blessing To Be A Blessing (YABTAB) Ministries fed more than 400 people at the Steamboat Pavilion in Bouligny Plaza during Thanksgiving afternoon.
New Iberia local Melvin Arabie is working to turn his life around. He’s in an alcohol recovery program and living in a shelter.
“It means that you still got people in this world who still care about other people,” said Arabie.
He said he heard about the community outreach Thanksgiving lunch through a counselor in the recovery program.
“We are very blessed to have this, and it just means a lot to me that people would just give.”
Debbie Mitchell is the co-owner of Vern’s Barbeque and Catering.
Her restaurant prepared the food for the event.
“40 turkeys, we did twenty eight 20lb pork loins, we made a 125lbs of dressing mix,” explaned Mitchell.
She says this is her way of paying it forward to a community that’s given her and her business 25 years of prosperity.
“We’re very blessed. We cater for the Super Bowl, we’ve catered for the NFL, the NBA, and currently we’re catering for the U.S. Marshals at Camp Beauregard,” said Mitchell.
LaToya Defils serves in one of the churches putting on the lunch. She knows firsthand how a welcoming community can bring comfort during the holidays.
“Well, I kinda feel like I can relate in a way just because all of my family lives in Michigan. So, I’m down here just being a part of this church family. It’s nice to just be around people when you don’t have blood family around or relatives, quote un-quote, everybody kinda becomes your family,” said Defils.
Organizers hope that the family they’re creating through community outreach events like this will continue to grow.
“We want to know that you’re loved, that you’re not alone, and that we’re thinking of you. And, this is put together for that one individual that needs it,” said volunteer organizer Zakea Mitchell.
The organization also delivered food from the lunch to elderly residents and nursing homes.