Lafayette, La. (AP) – Lafayette Parish School Board member Elroy Broussard showed up to his church parish hall at 6 a.m. on a recent Saturday to get started cooking 120 pounds of chicken.
Broussard and his fellow parishioners at St. Anthony Catholic Church have been joining together multiple times a year to prepare and distribute meals to others in their neighborhood since 1994.
“Everybody does everything, from cooking to mopping to serving,” Broussard said.
The latest menu is baked smothered chicken served over rice and homemade gravy, sweet peas, bread roll and a slice of cake for dessert. Parishioners young and old help Broussard cook, plate and serve the meals as part of the “Feed My People” program, named for a Bible verse in the book of John in which Jesus tells his disciples to do just that – feed his people.
“It brings together different aspects of our community,” said Father Richard Andrus, SVD. “There are people who have been here since the beginning and the youth who help with delivery. It gives them a great foundation of them to be young Catholic people serving the community, not just serving the church.”
Some of the young men from the youth group helped move giant pots of gravy and sweet peas from the stove to the counter in the parish hall kitchen, so older members could scoop the food into to-go containers. Andrus passed the plates from one assembly line to another to be topped off with a roll and dessert.
Broussard has been involved since the beginning, and he’s excited to see young people showing up to help.
“We’re going to need people to take our place one day,” Broussard said. “We’re hoping this will flourish a little bit more.” They made about 150 meals for the youth group to deliver on foot throughout the community – to the elderly, homebound and in-need.
“We try to put a little seasoning in it,” Broussard said.