Phillip Jean-Louis Jr. and Carlos Hartwell dig deep into their own pockets to bless others for the Thanksgiving holiday. The two Northwestern State University graduates self-fund the “Come Give Thanks With Us Dinner” as part of The Gloria Project Family Integrated Services, LLC. At NSU they were members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. Jean-Louis played baseball and Hartwell was a member of the marching band.
The duo, along with countless volunteers, will serve a Thanksgiving meal and pass out goodie bags Thursday, Nov. 24 at the Sky Box at the MLK Center from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
It took four hours to load a rented U-Haul trailer with all the food the duo spent around 30 days preparing. Various people help them prepare the food. A woman in Lafayette makes stuffed turkey rolls for them to serve. They arrived with their bounty in Natchitoches Wednesday at 2 a.m.
Jean-Louis of Lafayette and Carlos of Alexandria began their mission in 2014. They wanted to reach out, give back and be servants of the Lord. The first year they fed 75-100 people, the second year they fed 150. This year they hope to feed 200-250.
“We didn’t realize how many people we were touching until it happened,” said Jean-Louis.
Hartwell explained how they see families and single mothers come in with 3-4 children. They eat and take home goodie bags. “It’s an amazing feeling to know they won’t have to go to the grocery store for a week after that,” he said.
The meals consist of turkey, ham, yams, green beans, dirty rice and cupcakes. The goodie bags have an assortment of snacks for people to take home. The plan is to continue to grow the endeavor, eventually reaching out to more states in the south.
“The number of volunteers we have speaks volumes in itself,” said Jean-Louis. “Everyone wants to do something. They have it in their hearts. Sometimes they just need the opportunity.”
To volunteer or donate contact Hartnell at 318-609-0766 or Phillip Jean-Louis Jr. at 337-852-4242.