BBQGuys® Delivers 75 Meals to St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter
How do you stay at home when you don’t have a home?
That’s one of many problems facing our nation’s homeless population during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted stay-at-home orders across the country. Shelters like those run by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Baton Rouge have kept their doors open, but limited resources and volunteers — along with strict health and safety regulations — have made the task of tending to the homeless much harder.
With our community’s homeless residents and those who care for them being among the most at risk of contracting COVID-19, BBQGuys lent a helping hand by purchasing and delivering dinners for 75 people across St. Vincent de Paul’s four shelters. The barbecue dinners not only presented a delicious change of pace for those repeatedly eating the same meals while sheltering in place, but also brought logistical relief to a staff spread thin by pandemic regulations.
This has been a difficult time for us, which is why we’re thankful for BBQGuys’ assistance, said Michael Acaldo, President and CEO of St. Vincent de Paul Charities. It helped us reach the men, women, and children in our facilities. It really touched a lot of lives.
Under normal circumstances, St. Vincent de Paul relies on volunteers, businesses, and civic groups to personally provide dinner for its guests every night of the year. But COVID-19 guidelines forced the nonprofit to turn away its usual stream of volunteers in hopes of protecting the homeless residents, many of whom have underlying conditions that place them at a greater risk of infection.
The philosophy of any good charity is to pack as many people in as you can and provide the services they need, and to get as many people volunteering to be a part of that mission, said Acaldo, who must now also ensure shelter residents are socially distanced. Right now, we have to do the exact opposite.
St. Vincent de Paul’s dining-room staff members are still preparing a hot lunch every day like normal, but now they’re also saddled with cooking daily dinners to make up for the meals typically given out by volunteers. Seeing an opportunity to alleviate those extra duties, BBQGuys quickly worked to arrange a food drop for the nonprofit organization.
We wanted to directly feed real people, said Cullen Boudreaux, BBQGuys Creative Director and Community Outreach Committee Chair. As BBQGuys, barbecue is always on our mind. When you hear people are going hungry, how could you not want to bring them barbecue?
Doing so meant reaching out to another local establishment: All Star Catering, which prepared two carloads of meals delivered by BBQGuys employees. Each boxed dinner contained chicken, pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw, and a roll — a classic barbecue mix that served as a hearty meal usually unavailable to the homeless in our community.
Making a nicer spread has been challenging for us, so I heard nothing but praise for the food, Acaldo said. All the guests raved about it. I mean, what could beat BBQ?
For more information about St. Vincent de Paul’s shelter and how you can help, visit the nonprofit’s website.
If you work with an organization that would like our help with future events or projects, please fill out our donation application.
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