When historic floodwaters overtook southern Louisiana in August of 2016, several Louisiana Refining Division employees and their family members formed the “2016 Louisiana Feed” crew to respond with hot meals for volunteers and those recovering from the devastation. When Hurricane Harvey hit southwest Texas almost exactly one year later, “Louisiana Feed” felt the call to action once again.
Seeing the catastrophic damage Harvey inflicted on Texas, MPC employees Brent Waguespack, Eddie Hitt, Mike Roussel, Matt (Suga) Louque, Shawn Levron, Carter Merrill, and Charles (Chucky) Louque – the founding members of “Louisiana Feed” – knew they needed to make a Cajun-style difference. Raising more than $7,300 through GoFundMe. com for food and supplies, the crew, members of their families, and friends made their way to Texas on September 8, cooking and serving more than 900 jambalaya and white bean meals in Houston and another 900 more in Beaumont. Because of the scope of the disaster, they returned once again a few weekends later, preparing more than 950 jambalaya meals in Vidor and a similar number in Port Arthur.
“In the Beaumont area, people had water to the roof of their houses,” says Hitt. “Once we started to serve lunch, I rode into the neighborhoods to help deliver food to people who were in the process of gutting their homes. They would give us hugs and share their stories as we would listen for a few minutes before moving to the next house. It was such a great feeling to know for just a minute you were able to help comfort these people with a hot meal.”
Two weekends … four cookings … 3,800 meals served. “My big pot is 80 gallons, and we can serve about 1,000 meals from one cooking,” adds Waguespack, who has customized his cooking equipment to use for charitable causes. “To have someone who has just lost everything they have thank you, and offer you a hug for giving them their first hot meal in a week or weeks, is beyond humbling. To say the least, it does my heart good.”
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