Catholic Charities of Acadiana announced a planned development of its food and nutrition programs, including a service expansion of St. Joseph Diner and buildout of a new FoodNet Food Bank facility.
"The COVID pandemic highlighted not only the existing need of those experiencing hunger but also presented challenges in providing nutritious meals and supplemental food in a safe environment" said Kim Boudreaux, CEO of Catholic Charities of Acadiana. "Though it is time to return to in- person dining at St. Joseph Diner, we want to do it safely while also being in a position to not ever have to close the doors again. This planned expansion will help us better serve those who are suffering from hunger throughout Acadiana."
A capital campaign to fund the expansion and buildout of St. Joseph Diner and FoodNet Food Bank will begin in early 2022. The law firm of Broussard and David has already pledged a donation of $300,000.
"We are all called to serve and take care of those who are most in need," said Blake David, senior partner at Broussard & David. "Our firm, alongside our families, has served at St. Joseph Diner for years. We are thrilled to further invest in the expansion of the food and nutrition programs at Catholic Charities of Acadiana, helping them to reach further into the community and better serve our neighbors with compassion and dignity."
The pandmic has forced St. Joseph Diner to discontinue in-person dining. The expansion will include a new and larger dining room with increased access for clients, as well as expanded hours of meal service to reduce the number of people who are served at one period of time.
"As an organization, we have always worked to honor the inherent dignity of each of our clients" said Boudreaux. "We want to provide the dignity of eating when you are hungry, instead of being told when you can or can't eat, along with offering a client choice pantry option through FoodNet Food Bank. This expansion will work to build capacity in our food and nutrition programs and help us to meet the regional needs of people suffering on a wider scale."
Starting today, Catholic Charities of Acadiana will begin serving a daily meal outside of St. Joseph Diner, seven days a week. Meal service will begin at 11:00am. Those wishing to volunteer at St. Joseph Diner or FoodNet Food Bank can sign up at catholiccharitiesacadiana.org Those wishing to support this project are encouraged to contact Ben Broussard, Chief of External Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.