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Demand exceeds supply of free motel rooms

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 6:44 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 21, 2022 at 6:57 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - More than 300 hotel rooms have been paid for this weekend to provide shelter to more than 700 people.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t provide shelter for all who applied to United Way for help. United way partnered with the Calcasieu Police Jury and City of Lake Charles.

There’s been a valiant effort by a number of groups and agencies to get people out of the cold.

Still, United Way had more than 400 applications they could not shelter at last word.

And then the challenge became feeding them.

At Abraham’s Tent, the regulars came for a hot meal at noon. Those given a motel room to get out of the cold are grateful to those who made it happen.

One is Jordan Sturlese, a guest in a nearby motel.

“It means a lot. It’s good, it’s good. Get some relief until I get back on my feet. I might do something myself whenever I get back on my feet. I’ll go volunteer and do some things because I know what it’s like,” Sturlese said.

Reporter: “You plan to pay it forward?” Sturlese: “Yeah.”

United Way of Southwest Louisiana provided lunch to those in motels today and Catholic Charities is providing dinner.

The massive undertaking continues Saturday, since those helped were given a three-night stay.

Sister Miriam MacLean and volunteers were busy making food bags much of the day.

“Everybody’s doing the best they can and pitching in where they’re able, so I’m grateful for the resiliency of the Southwest Louisiana and how faithful people are in responding to the needs, so that’s a great gift,” said Sister.

At Water’s Edge Church they continue efforts as resources allow. First Methodist’s Jean Kamla brought her church’s donation for rooms. She hopes all involved can meet for sort of a debriefing.

“I think if we all come to the table together, the churches, all the community organizations that have the homeless ministry in their heart, we can do bigger and better things for these people,” Kalma said.

United Way Director Denise Durel also says she would like to have a meeting to see what worked and what did not.

To see if volunteers or supply donations are needed this weekend, check the Facebook pages of the various groups: United Way of SWLA and Catholic Charities.

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