Love Acadiana has connected the faith and business communities together to help build a stronger region for over four years now.
KLFY News 10 features the woman behind the organization that’s impacting Acadiana.
Cindy Dilena is the woman behind this initiative that’s providing help and hope in meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the underserved.
“If you asked me what your perfect day is, this actually is one. Watching all of these backpacks were packed,” said Cindy Dilena as she helped stuff backpack with supplies inside the Lafayette Parish School Board’s warehouse.
She is not a Louisiana native but quickly made it her home. She and her husband began ministering at Our Saviors Church and created the outreach arm, Love Acadiana.
“They asked me what I wanted to do and I said I want to serve. I took over Love Acadiana on a Wednesday, and we had a flood on Friday,” she said. Immediately the organization began with flood relief efforts.
“It was amazing to watch everyone come together during the time of crisis. No one cared what church you went to, what school, where you lived,” Dilena added.
Love Acadiana was able to muck out 400 homes. This was followed by a two-year flood relief partnership with local churches and organizations. “We had over 3,000 volunteers and we gave over 24,000 meals out that we didn’t prepare. People brought to us so we can take them out to the community,” she said.
Her passion to serve stems from living and working in the poorest inner-cities in Detroit, Michigan where she led efforts of neighborhood revitalization including; a school playground, a weekly feeding program, a food pantry, a homeownership program and construction of a 10,000 square foot ministry center for the children and youth.
“As projects come up, as funding comes up, as the need arises, we try to meet those needs. Just reach out to those who are hurting. Need a little help. Need a little hope put back in them,” said Dliena.
She brings this experience to rebuilding lives and the hope of thousands of people through Love Acadiana. “It’s just fun to be apart of the community, connecting people who are doing stuff with the people that want to see stuff done,” she said.
‘We’re not always the one doing the projects, but sometimes we’re just supporting those in the trenches and looking to make our community better and stronger.”
Love Acadiana’s work continues with a new initiative called, ‘Love our Schools,’ a partnership with the William C. Schumacher Family Foundation to revitalize eight public schools in Lafayette Parish.