Community leaders have always been challenged to be visionaries, to find a way to turn a vision into a reality. Thirty years ago, Constable Reginald Brown, Karen Lord, and the
founders of Holiday Helpers, made a shared vision come to life in Baton Rouge and, since then, everyone in our community has known where they could go for a great meal on Thanksgiving Day. Recognizing a need back in 1987, Constable Brown and the founders of Holiday Helpers began an effort that soon became an annual Thanksgiving tradition. Initially, this community event was held in local hotel ballrooms, but quickly grew beyond that venue and was moved to the Centroplex, now known as the Raising Cane’s River Center.
We, too, serve a traditional holiday meal on Thanksgiving Day, but the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday following Thanksgiving are also some of our busiest days here at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room. From that first Holiday Helpers event in November of 1987, Constable Brown and Holiday Helpers have generously donated any leftovers from their event to be served at our dining room after Thanksgiving Day. They have always shared our philosophy that nothing should be wasted.
Our community has come together for 30+ years for the Holiday Helpers event. Now, Constable Brown and St. Vincent de Paul have decided to come together, organizationally, and let St. Vincent de Paul continue their tradition of excellence. With the support of Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, on Thursday, November 23, 2017 (and every Thanksgiving thereafter), we will serve a Thanksgiving meal at the River Center in the tradition of Holiday Helpers. We will also continue to serve our traditional Thanksgiving meal at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room. Both of these meals will ensure that we provide maximum coverage of our community on this special day. For individuals who have no families to share this special day with, for the needy throughout our community, including those who have eaten at the River Center in past years, we will be there for them. For the homeless who live at our St. Vincent de Paul shelters, for others who live near our main charitable campus, we will be there for them. We have made a commitment to Constable Brown; the founders of Holiday Helpers; Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome; and Michael Day, River Center General Manager; that this annual event will continue. Their involvement will be critical as this effort continues through St. Vincent de Paul. Every one of those community leaders is an example for us all to follow.
More information will be forthcoming as we work with Holiday Helpers to continue this community tradition. If you would like to help or support this great community activity, please send an email to Michael Acaldo at firstname.lastname@example.org.