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LDAF, Gonzales Jambalaya Festival volunteers, help feed Joplin

June 15, 2011


 Gonzales Jambalaya Festival volunteers prepared fresh Louisiana shrimp in Joplin, Missouri for hungry Americorps volunteers who are helping the area recover from the May 22 tornado event. The shrimp were donated by Blanchard’s Seafood of Grand Isle. Sanderson Farms, Manda Fine Meats, Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge and Blue Runner Foods also donated food for the relief effort. (photo courtesy Gonzales Jambalaya Festival).


The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) and the Gonzales Jambalaya Festival collected a large donation of rice for jambalaya meals for residents and emergency workers in Joplin, Missouri, the site of a devastating May 22 tornado.

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said the Gonzales Jambalaya Festival contacted the LDAF for help in locating a rice donor.

Strain said Farmers Rice Milling Company of Lake Charles donated 2000 pounds of rice.

“The rice donation was the result of a coordinated effort between State Rep. M.J. “Mert” Smiley Jr., the LDAF and the USA Rice Federation with one goal in mind, to help our fellow man,” Strain said. “I want to personally thank the Farmers Rice Milling Company for their kind donation.”

Farmers Rice Milling Company CEO Jamie Warshaw said the company is happy to lend a hand in the relief effort.

“The owners and employees of Farmers Rice Milling are glad to make the rice donation to assist relief workers in Joplin, Missouri,” Warshaw said. “It is our way of supporting those volunteers who are giving up their time to help out those in need.”

Volunteers with the Gonzales Jambalaya Festival arrived in Joplin Sunday, June 12 and plan to serve meals for at least three weeks.

Rhett Bourgeois, a Gonzales Jambalaya Festival volunteer team member and organizer of the Joplin trip, said the group is serving 400 to 500 people a day and expecting a much larger crowd over the weekend.

“We want to do our part to help these people who have lost everything,” Bourgeois said. “When we arrived, we boiled some fresh Louisiana shrimp and you could just see that relief workers were so relieved to not have to eat another peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

Blanchard’s Seafood of Grand Isle, Sanderson Farms, Manda Fine Meats, Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge and Blue Runner Foods also made food donations, Bourgeois said.