LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The St. Joseph Diner is providing relief for people experiencing homelessness, with temperatures 100 degrees and higher this summer in Acadiana.

“The first week of June, it got really hot in South Louisiana, and it really hasn’t let up since,” Ben Broussard with Catholic Charities of Acadiana said. “We, of course, have been concerned about those who don’t have anywhere to take refuge from the heat. We see folks in St. Joseph Diner all day long who are suffering from exposure. They have second and third-degree burns. They’re dehydrated. We have been having to increase our capacity to serve because of these conditions.”

Broussard said they have been serving eight to 10 cases of water a day to those on the street. In addition to all their shelters, they had to scale up the amount of food they served because of the increase of people coming to the diner. He said they are serving 700 to 800 per day through St. Joseph Diner.

That’s seven days a week—breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

“Throughout the shelter systems that Catholic Charities of Acadiana is operating, we have right over 200 hundred folks that we’re serving experiencing homelessness,” Broussard said. “That’s men, women, families with children, and veterans. There’s also a population that is currently unsheltered. We’re doing the best we can with the limited resources we have, and there just are not enough shelter beds in Lafayette to provide for the amount of need that’s out there.” 

Broussard said they see many people who are coming throughout the day who are currently sleeping outside. 

“We know they’re suffering, and so we’re doing the best we can to provide for them and provide some compassion through something like food and fast and rest,” Broussard said. 

Broussard told News 10 that while the extreme heat has been tough for everyone, he reminds the community to have compassion for those less fortunate. 

“It’s been a tough summer for us, especially for those experiencing homelessness,” Broussard said. “It’s very easy to feel alone in the work that we do, but I am reassured that the community we live in is a very generous community, and I know that they see folks struggling those who are suffering. So, really, I’m hoping that this St. Joseph Diner can be an outlet for our community both in giving but also in serving to meet a real need in our community.” 

“Families and individuals that we serve through Catholic Charities of Acadiana, so many of them never expected to be in a position that they’re in need of needing assistance, so we try to honor their dignity,” he added. “We try to meet them where they’re at. Get to know them by name but really serve them, especially in a time like this when suffering is at such a high level. It’s just so hot, so we’re doing the best we can to provide relief during this super tough time for them.” 

Broussard said there is a huge need for volunteers as well as food donations.