UPDATE: The Three O'clock Project, which handed out food to local children today, is asking families for patience after one site was shut down over traffic problems.
Here's a statement from the group:
"To the families of Scott, Louisiana. We would like to apologize for what happened at the planned meal ditribution site at the Scott Library. We had cleared this with certain channels, but not all, and not the important ones. We assumed, which should never happen, and great lessons were learned. Scott Police Department had to shut down our distribution site for safety and traffic flow, as they were not aware of the event today. Please do not blame the police department, they were doing their jobs. We are now working with the Chief and local city officials to better plan for next week - potentially trying to come back this Thursday to Scott. Stay tuned."
Earlier today, Scott Police told us that the site at the Scott library was shut down because of traffic issues.
Scott Police Chief Chad Leger said nobody in Scott was asked about the plan to give away meals at the library, and it caused a major traffic problem because of construction near the library.
Apollo Road, a main artery in the city, is under construction and down to one lane. The library is near the construction, the chief said. Before the giveaway was even set to begin, traffic was stopped on Apollo, Spanish Trail (another main Scott artery) and on Cameron, he said.
Police officers went to the area to attempt some kind of traffic control, and were met with so much hostility from the motorists that the chief decided to just shut the operation down.
Leger said he's spoken with people from the Three O'clock Project, who said they thought that the United Way had cleared all the sites. A post on the organization's Facebook page says that the site was cleared with the Mayor-President's office and that the site was shut down because of "confusion" on the part of Scott Police.
The Mayor-President of Lafayette does not have authority in the City of Scott. Each municipality in Lafayette Parish is autonomous. Leger said Scott's Mayor told him he was never consulted, either.
Leger said he could think of at least three other sites that would have worked for this morning's event - but nobody asked him.
"We've got officers out every day helping these organizations, dishing food, working traffic. We want to help, we know people need help," Leger said. "But we can't help if we're never involved."
Leger said he's offered to help with future events, to include crowd control and site selection.
The Three O'clock Project, a Baton Rouge-based non-profit, partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana, to provide a week's worth of meals to any child 18 and under.
These are the sites that we believe are still operating:
● 10:00-11:00 AM: Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana – Jackie Unit (1000 Marie Antionette in Lafayette)
● 10:00-11:00 AM: Domingue Center (901 Mudd Avenue in Lafayette)
● 11:30 AM-12:30 PM: Destiny of Faith Church (409 Patterson Street in Lafayette)
● 1:00 PM-2:00 PM: Holy Cross Church (415 Robley Drive in Lafayette)