BATON ROUGE (WBRZ) - St. Vincent de Paul made Easter Sunday special for those in need, serving up meals for the Baton Rouge community.
Chief Executive Officer Michael Acaldo says events like this come from the institution’s need to give back to the community.
“The message is to love one another,” Acaldo said. “You see the 140 volunteers we have you see out here. They are doing just that, loving the community through service.”
The packed St. Vincent de Paul dining room remained this way throughout the day. Through the gift of a meal, the gathering of friends and family, and the act of giving, volunteers chose to spend their Easter Sunday giving back.
Bailey Luckett, one of the many volunteers, is just 17-years-old. However, he said he’s volunteered holiday service for a decade.
“I think it’s the best experience to do on any given day, especially on holidays. Even just giving someone food, whatever it may be, it makes a difference," Luckett said
Once visitors finished their meals, each guest was able to head outside to visit the “market” in the parking lot. Here, those in need could gather donations.
"We have a special St. Vincent de Paul item store set up in our parking lot, where people can get their basic needs," Acaldo said. "Shoes, clothes, just the necessities that may not be available to some people on a regular basis.”
One of the volunteers in the market, Christopher Carloss, said it was this institution that restored his hope in life.
“I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how I was going to make it. With no job, and really no idea of what to do next, they gave me a chance,” Carloss said
Carloss previously took care of his ill mother when his life took a turn, leaving him scrambling to get on his feet. He said the progress he’s made in just one year is ubelievable.
“It’s different to be on the other end, to see the kids’ faces and the happiness on their faces," Carloss said. "It’s a joy and a blessing to be here.”
He’s not alone. Last year, volunteers served a record 253,446 meals to the homeless. And for some like Christopher Carloss, even gave him employment and the life skills he needed to succeed.
St. Vincent de Paul has served the Baton Rouge community for 150 years.