A faith-based program for men in Opelousas is helping residents get back on their feet, while giving back to the community.
The Refinery Mission is a catalyst for men in transition. Residents there come from jails, prisons, rehabs, hospitals, behavioral clinics, and the sreets.
“I was spiritually broken when I came to this program in 2015,” said Steven Barnes. Before he entered, he was homeless, liviing under a bridge and fighting addiction.
“I would’ve never thought it four years ago, but to be able to come back and be on this side of the table and be involved with these men lives is very humbling,” Barnes added.
It was a second chance that transformed his life. It has come full circle as he now serves as a program director for the center.
“The men that God placed around my life brought to me here through the Refinery. They’ve held me accountable. They showed me that love for Christ that I didn’t have before,” said Barnes.
Many resident know first-hand what it’s like living without essential needs. That’s why it was important for executive director Johnny Carriere to help them feed the hungry.
“We’re not a program where guys just come here and exist. We want to see them involved. We want to see them grow so then in the future they can give back and help the very people that they are today,” said Carriere.
They’re encouraging local sportsmen and their families to clean out their freezers to donate frozen, processed game and fish from the 2018 Hunting Season.
“In this year, we’re projecting to have around 75,000 meals prepared for those in need and it’s going to be at least that next year,” said Carriere.
The men will then cook the items collect and provide meals to the impoverished and homeless.
“They feel important because they get to come in here and contribute back into the mission in all different areas. If it’s volunteering in the kitchen, working in the garden, or if it’s just mentoring that new guy that just came in, the men here support each other,” said Barnes.
Last year, more than 8,000 pounds of food was donated.
The Hunters for the Hungry Food Drive is Sunday, September 15th from 10 a. m. to 3 p.m.
The following sites in Acadiana will be set up to collect frozen game and fish:
Lafayette – UL Cajun Field 2351 W. Congress St. main drop site
Opelousas – Giles Nissan, 4383 I-49 service road
Youngsville – First Assembly of God, 3555 Verot School Rd.
Broussard – Chops Specialty Meats, 1019 Albertson Parkway
Eunice – Eunice Fire Station, 100 Park Ave.
New Iberia – Community First Bank, 1101 E. Admiral Doyle Dr.
Abbeville – Ray Chevrolet, 716 W. Summers Dr.
Carencro – MC Taxidermy, 3829 NW Evangeline Thruway
Donations are tax deductible and will go towards the center’s mission to feed and assist members of the community who are most in need.