|Walter Lashell Sr. & Kim Hebert enjoying Love Fest 2017 despite their situation|
Baton Rouge, La. – On Saturday, February 11, the SU Ag Center’s Jaguar Leader (Jag Lead) Club, and Outstanding Mature Girlz (OMG) Club served nearly 200 “Bags of Love” to homeless individuals under the Trevor J. Sims Memorial Bridge. The club members traveled from St. Helena & Tangipahoa Parishes to participate in Love Fest 2017 as part of the clubs monthly service focus, which is knowledge. Club members were introduced to a pressing issue that plagues the capital city, and that is homelessness. For the very first time students from both parishes were able to witness what life looks like when individuals do not have anywhere to turn for resources. Students also conducted an interview with homeless, 41-year old, Walter Lashell Sr., to gain knowledge on how someone could reach such deprived conditions.
Lashell said, “I moved here from Norfolk, Virginia, and I lost my job. ‘People have a preconceived notion that we’re looking for handouts, but I’m looking for a hand-up.” Lashell also stated that he and his companion had only been residing underneath the Trevor J. Sims Bridge for a little over a month, but he’s still optimistic. Many club members were shocked that Baton Rouge has such a huge homeless population, and discussed ways they could become the voice of reason to help eradicate such awful conditions. Kentwood High Magnet School (OMG) Club Member Marla Mcknight said, “I’ve learned that homelessness can happen to anybody, sometimes even the educated are affected.”
Love Fest is an annual celebration held on the second Saturday in February. This event is essentially used to help the homeless population take their minds off their temporary situations for one day, while also helping them to seek solutions to put them back on their feet. Club members also passed out hygiene kits, and hand-crafted Valentine’s Day cards that simply read, “I love you!”
For information on how to join a club, contact Nicolette Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org
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