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United Way of SWLA hosts giveaway on Labor Day

Posted at 7:31 PM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-07 22:37:15-04

LAKE CHARLES — Some volunteers spent their Labor Day helping others in Lake Charles.

Dozens of people who were affected by Hurricane Laura took home free groceries, thanks to a giveaway put on by the United Way of Southwest Louisiana.

"A lot of people are struggling right now [with] no income, nowhere to go," said Elverna Singleton, who received donations Monday. "Some have no food or anything, so this is just a a real true blessing."

Staff and volunteers filled up people's trunks with necessities before they were greeted with a hot meal and a cold drink. Before exiting the parking lot, they received a tank full of gas or a gas card.

"People just come out of the closet and help you with handouts and things that'll benefit you in the hurricane and make you very comfortable," said Albert Riggs, whose home was damaged in the storm.

United Way of SWLA President and CEO Denise Durel says Monday's event was their 11th giveaway and that recovery efforts will continue.

"Even though it's just one hot meal or a case of bottled water or a five-gallon jug of gas, it gives them hope," said Durel. "As a community, we really are all in this together, and we're going to do everything we can to see them through."

Several people remain without power, but today's giveaway has them feeling like they're not alone.

"I feel great. I feel like [I'm] back home again, like no disaster ever happened," said Riggs. "Actually, I'm making it better now after the hurricane than I was before."

Singleton is also grateful for the community support.

"(I'd) just like to thank everyone, and it's good to see everybody coming together as a community," said Singleton. "Stay strong! Stay encouraged!"

The agency is still in need of volunteers. If interested in becoming a volunteer, click here. If you'd like to donate to their Hurricane Laura Response Fund, text 'LAURA' to 40403 or click here.