In October of 2016, a couple of Gheens residents got together and started talking about the fact that when they looked around their community, there seemed to be a large number of families who were suffering from medical issues, such as cancer and various other hardships.
To get a better understanding of what some of their neighbors were enduring Mr. Robert Landry and Kearney Toups took it upon themselves to go street by street, door to door speaking with Gheens residents.
Robert and Kearney inquired on who might be suffering from ailments or hardship and what types of assistance would be most helpful. Medication, medical supplies, doctor visits, and assistance with surgery costs were high among the responses they received.
Shortly after their "walk and talk" it became apparent to both gentlemen there was a necessity for these two compassionate souls to put their resources together and help those in the community. The Gheens Needy Family Organization came to fruition that very day. Since that time, and with help of donations, the GNFO continues to alleviate at least some of the financial burdens associated with their neighbors’ hardships.
In the beginning and with some very generous "start-up" help from Sheriff Craig Webre, Golden Ranch owner, Arlen Cenac, and District Attorney Cam Morvant, the organization’s first benefit far exceeded GNFO’s expectations. A significant portion of the proceeds from the first fundraiser went directly to four families who were dealing with cancer-related issues and one bed-ridden elderly resident.
The remaining funds, along with a surprise monetary donation from Mr. Steve Wanko, enabled the organization to purchase and distribute 42 turkeys to Gheens families in need for Christmas last year.
GFNO hosts a benefit dinner at the Vacherie Gheens Community Center once every three months, which is open to the public.
“Right now the organization has about forty families we help with more names added to the list as the need arises. Money collected from each benefit dinner goes directly to at least five families and more if the money is there,” said Landry.
He went on to say, “Only last week a family came requesting help because an older family member who requires an oxygen tank twenty-four hours a day did not have money to get a new tank and the tank was nearly empty. We knew we had to do something, so we called an emergency meeting and brought the family the money they needed to get the new oxygen tank.”
Robert stressed the importance of the need for community support.
“Without the community, we cannot do what we do.”
Whether it is coming down to enjoy a great meal for eight dollars or through a private monetary donation, every dollar helps someone suffering hardship.
“For example, at our third benefit dinner in June, the organization raised $4,850. We were able to help eighteen families.” Landry explained.
He expressed his deepest gratitude to the Vacherie Gheens Community Center when he said, “We will always be thankful for the Community Center welcoming us with open arms and allowing us to use their venue for free. It is so admirable of them to do so, and we are forever grateful to them."
In addition to utilizing the community center, GFNO works under the VGCC non-profit umbrella. Any monetary donations can be made payable to Vacherie Gheens Community Center and reference GFNO.
Landry cordially invites the community to their next benefit luncheon on Sunday, September 10th at the Vacherie Gheens Community Center from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The plate lunch will include ground meat spaghetti, potato salad, petit peas, and bread.
Robert is asking the community to consider supporting the organization and attending the donation luncheon, so they can continue helping families in their time of need.
For more information, please contact Robert Landry at 985-532-3556 or Kearney Toups at 985-637-2189.
Posted on Tue, September 5, 2017
by Holly McKeon, Contributing Writer