Demon players respond to late night plea to help local food pantry.

7-8-15 food pantry teamThe commitment by Northwestern State student-athletes to community service extends to urgent late night calls for help in the middle of summer.

A handful of Demon football players expected to go through voluntary morning conditioning workouts at Turpin Stadium received a text message Tuesday night at 10, seeking manpower to unload a truckload of food at the Cane River Food Pantry operated by the First United Methodist Church of Natchitoches to assist local families in need.

Eight Demons who did not have morning classes after their early workouts joined several other community volunteers at the recently-opened pantry at 8:30 Wednesday morning, and the relatively small group had the shipment stored away about 90 minutes later.

Among the football players lending their manpower were Natchitoches natives Leroy Armstrong, a senior defensive end, and junior running back De’Mard Llorens.

Also involved from the Demon football team: sophomore quarterback Joel Blumenthal of Edmond, Okla.; junior offensive lineman Terrence Boyd of Baytown, Texas; offensive lineman Cameron Hussey from Houston; junior running back Chris Jones of Tylertown, Miss.; junior quarterback Daniel Hazlewood of Huntsville, Texas; and senior running back Daniel Taylor of Lutcher. Assistant coach Jake Landoll and the Demons’ strength and conditioning staff helped arrange their participation.

Beth Cole, the director of community life for the First United Methodist Church, sent the text seeking help when other volunteer help washed out at the last minute.

“We cannot thank the NSU Demons enough for their willingness to help out our community,” said Cole.  “The Cane River Food Bank serves more than 200 families in and around Natchitoches Parish each month but only with the support of people like these young men. We are blessed to have a community that supports our endeavors and a university that believes in building servant leaders for tomorrow.”

Guiding the efforts and going shoulder-to-shoulder with the Demons Wednesday morning were Betty Milner and Paula and John Jarvis, who are the directors of the Cane River Food Pantry. Also involved were Jeremy and Hillary Bennett and their young daughters, Lainey and Kylie, and Sonny Evans of the United Methodist Men’s group at FUMC Natchitoches.

The UMM organization locally has been heavily engaged with assisting the food pantry when it was operated out of Robeline and since its recent move to a Natchitoches facility near the airport and detention center at 105 Daniel Street, off Edwina Street from the La. 1 bypass.

For information on how to assist the Cane River Food Pantry, contact Cole at FUMC Natchitoches by calling 318-357-8296 or visit the church’s Facebook page at Facebook/fumcnla.