THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University distributed more than 12,500 nonperishable food and household items to Houma, Dulac and Morgan City food banks — all thanks to the second Nicholls CAN! food drive.
The campuswide turnout far surpassed the drive’s goal of collecting 7,000 items. Donations are also up from last spring, when the initiative raised more 6,500 food items and $3,300 in cash. Jean Donegan, Nicholls art department head, along with other Nicholls CAN! committee members, spent much of this week counting and sorting donations from faculty, staff, students and participating local businesses.
“I’m really thrilled with the fantastic turnout and participation,” Donegan said. “Every academic college at Nicholls collected more items than they did last semester. This was truly a group effort that reflects the university’s concern for the community.”
On Friday, Oct. 19, representatives from three area food banks visited campus to collect the donations. “With the holidays coming up, we’ll definitely put these cans to good use,” said Kay Raymond, executive director of St. Mary Outreach Inc. in Morgan City. “We’ve been seeing a lot more people who are unemployed and struggling to find work.”
The Dulac Community Center has seen its demand increase about 60 percent, said John Silver, executive director. “We were hit hard after Hurricane Isaac, and we’re still serving up to 12 families a week. As a satellite location for Houma’s Good Samaritan Food Bank, we order food from them when we need to restock, so this donation will help lessen the burden we place on them.”
Reynold Pitre, manager of Good Samaritan Food Bank in Houma, reinforced that local food banks need help now more than ever. “People say they look forward to the day when we won’t need food banks, but I think there will always be a need,” he said. “We certainly appreciate this donation from Nicholls and what it does to encourage more people to get involved with their local food banks.”
Pictured, from left, are John Silver, executive director of the Dulac Community Center; Jean Donegan, head of the Nicholls Department of Art and Nicholls CAN! committee member; Reynold Pitre, manager of Houma’s Good Samaritan Food Bank; Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, Nicholls president; and Kay Raymond, executive director of St. Mary Outreach Inc.