Houma Today Article!



Originally posted on HOUMATODAY.com

Downtown Houma food drive kicks off first year

By Kate Mabry
Staff Writer

Published: Monday, December 15, 2014 at 7:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 15, 2014 at 7:56 p.m.

Volunteers will gather Saturday in downtown Houma to bring the holiday spirit of giving to two local nonprofit groups.

The first is MacDonell Children’s Services, a residential home for neglected or abused children.

The second is The Haven, an organization providing shelter, counseling and support to victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Operation Full Pantry, a newly-formed volunteer group, will collect non-perishable food from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Thatcher Place and several other downtown locations.

“I have been thinking about throwing a food drive for some time now, so I just up and decided there’s no time better than the present,” said Kristy Hebert-Graham, the food drive’s founder.

She established a group of core volunteers in November, and they began contacting downtown businesses.

“I always envisioned having the food drive take place in downtown Houma and thought getting the businesses down there involved would help the drive and get people to see all the wonderful local places downtown has to offer at the same time,” Hebert-Graham said.

JuJu’s Boutique, a shop for women’s clothing, is one of several participating businesses.

Owner Sheri Duplantis said she believes it’s important to give back to the community.

“We’ve been very blessed and fortunate,” she said. “We just think that it’s a great idea and something that we’re interest in participating in.”

Duplantis said the store will offer initialed necklaces, which usually cost $15, for $1 to any customer who brings in a food donation Saturday.

Other participating businesses include JL Salon, The Duke, The Boxer and the Barrel, Smoky Row, Bar Roussell, The Brickhouse Tavern, Thatcher Place, Envy Boutique, Urban Loft, the Salon Rubicon, Funktion Salon, Bree D’Errico, Bremly Brides and Serving Houma.

In additon to the drop-off hours and customer specials for each of the various businesses, Hebert-Graham said a list of non-perishable goods and a variety of household items, including shampoo, soap and toothpaste, can be found at operationfullpantry.com or at Operation Full Pantry’s Facebook page.

Residents may drop off large donations at Goode and Belanger streets, where tents and trucks will be located Saturday.

“Our volunteers will be stationed at the trucks and the Thatcher Place all day and night taking in donations, and we will also have our volunteers as runners to continuously pick up the donations being brought to each local downtown business,” Hebert-Graham said.

For those unable to bring their donated items Saturday, the Main Street Program and Terrebonne Parish Folklife Center will accept donations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through this Friday at the Folklife Center, 317 Goode St.

Anela’s Wellness and Yoga Lounge, 7720 W. Main St., Houma, also will collect items from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

“We have received messages, emails and phone calls with lots of love and positive feedback about Operation Full Pantry,” Hebert-Graham said. “I couldn’t be happier on how the community has given us so much love and offers to get involved and help.

“Our goal at Operation Full Pantry is to make this the biggest one-day food drive Houma has ever seen, and I truly think that with the help of everyone in our community, it can be.”