SULPHUR, LA - The Sulphur senior center, recently renamed Birdie Aikens senior center, is holding its first ever hurricane supply drive Friday.
From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., the Hixson-Sulphur funeral home and the Birdie Aikens senior center are partnering up to collect non-perishable food items for seniors in the Sulphur community.
Barbara Matthews, a volunteer at the senior center, lived through Hurricane Rita and is now giving back to her community.
"It was devastating, the whole area, we had to move out of Sulphur. We went to Leesville to the high school and that's where we sheltered in place until we could come back," Matthews said. "So, I know what it is to go through a hurricane, it's not nice."
She said the senior center has been collecting food all week, and they could use more donations.
"If everybody would bring one can, or a couple of cans, we would meet the needs of so many people in our community. It's needed, it's very much needed," Matthews said.
The Calcasieu Council on Aging, that runs all of the senior centers in Calcasieu, has already prepared some of its clients for the hurricane season by passing out more than 1,300 meals. Each of their clients receives three meals at the beginning of June to save if a hurricane hits.
"A lot of our seniors are alone, they don't have family in town or they don't have family. A lot of them, they've outlived their children, they've outlived their spouses. So they are alone in times of bad weather or hurricanes, they are nervous and scared just like anyone would be," Angie Herr, director of programs at the Calcasieu Council on Aging said. "We are concerned about our clients getting left behind in case of a mandatory evacuation, so that's why we always like to prepare and send them out meals ahead of time for the season."
While this center is available year-round, during hurricane season Matthews hopes this will take the stress out of keeping food on the table during bad weather.
"In preparation (for hurricane season), all of these things will be available to our seniors so they won't have to go stand in line, fighting to try and get food or whatever. They'll have a place here that they can come be at ease to do some shopping for food," Matthews said.
The drive will be held tomorrow at 601 Maple Street in Sulphur.