Shreveport volunteers hand out food, water to long line of cars.

February 27, 2021

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Dozens of volunteers spent Saturday afternoon helping thousands of people in south Shreveport. Members of the recently incorporated non-profit Shreveport Volunteer Network provided hot meals, water and supplies to a long line of cars at Summer Grove Baptist Church. Saturday's event was organized in the span of just three days, in response to last week's winter storm.

"We know our city officials are doing what they can," said Danielle Gelpi, the volunteer coordinator for Shreveport Volunteer Network. "But with organizations like ours, we don't have that red tape so we're able to just jump right in and almost be somewhat of the first responders."

SVN partnered with the Baton Rouge-based Cajun Navy who donated most of the supplies, as well as Word of God Ministries and other organizations, including a youth group of about 30 kids. Less than a year after reaching 501c3 charity status, Gelpi says they're already blown away by the support they've received. But they're also surprised by the extent of need in the community, with cars arriving Saturday morning, several hours before the volunteers started the hand-out.

"I talked to the first probably 50 people waiting in line," said Gelpi. They said, 'if we didn't have a need, we wouldn't be here.' So they're wanting to they were waiting three hours."

"I think it's great," said Chet McDaniel, who waited in line for more than an hour and a half. "I'm just really grateful that this has come together in the community and it helps a lot of people in need."

Based on the overwhelming turnout, organizers say Saturday's event is just the beginning. Click here to get involved in future projects with the Shreveport Volunteer Network.