5 West Feliciana Parish-Area Nonprofits You Can Contribute To
In Louisiana, we’re known for our resilience and generosity. Strangers are never strangers here; they are our neighbors. During what has certainly been a challenging year amidst the ongoing pandemic and active hurricane season, resources are strained and neighborly help is needed more than ever.
Thankfully, there is no shortage of people working to provide that help, whether it’s through post-hurricane rebuilding in Lake Charles, providing free meals to hungry children during the Covid-19 pandemic, or advancing other key issues. However, these good works are only made possible through the generous contributions of donors. Giving to nonprofit organizations not only benefits the charities and recipients themselves, but it can be deeply rewarding for you, too. Studies show that contributing to causes you’re passionate about boosts physical and mental health. People who participate in philanthropy have a longer life expectancy, increased self-esteem, lower blood pressure, and lower levels of depression. If you are not able to contribute financially, you can still have a substantial impact by volunteering your time or contributing material donations to non-profit organizations.
“You can make a difference and be a part of something bigger than yourself,” says Bank of St. Francisville President & CEO Carter Leak IV. “That’s what community is all about.”
The following five nonprofits represent a fraction of the many organizations working to improve the lives of people in West Feliciana and beyond and are especially important in the aftermath of Hurricanes Laura and Delta. They are all locally or regionally based, ensuring your contributions go directly toward your neighbors who need it most.
Young Life West Feliciana. This national Christian youth organization is dedicated to helping young people grow in their faith, and the West Fel chapter has been a vital outlet for our middle and high school kids throughout the pandemic. Young Life’s club activities have allowed them to safely socialize with friends, and most importantly, have provided a sense of normalcy in the midst of an abnormal time.
The Three O’Clock Project. In Louisiana, one in five households is at risk of hunger; that’s why The Three O’Clock Project was created in 2017. This Baton Rouge-based nonprofit provides healthy after-school and summer meals to children at no cost. When the pandemic forced emergency school closures earlier this year, they served 6 million meals to children across South Louisiana from March to August. If you’re passionate about reducing food insecurity, two other notable area organizations to support are the West Feliciana Food Pantry, which serves about 375 families in the area, and the Second Harvest Food Bank, which works to create a pathway out of poverty for people by providing food and support to over 700 community partners across 23 parishes.
St. Francisville Area Foundation. Since 1998, the St. Francisville Area Foundation has focused on community development in West Feliciana Parish through supporting initiatives that enhance the quality of life for its residents. Current projects include the development of Pecan Grove Bluff, the Riverfront Redevelopment Plan, Tunica Hills State Preservation Area, and the Gateways & Corridors Master Plan.
Capital Area United Way. Capital Area United Way (CAUW) works to create a community where everyone is empowered by advancing key issues like education, health, and economic mobility. Founded in 1925 as the Civilian Defense Fund, the nonprofit serves ten parishes in the Capital Region, including West Feliciana. In response to the pandemic, CAUW established a Community Relief Fund. To assist directly with hurricane recovery in Southwest Louisiana, United Way of Acadiana has a Hurricane Laura Disaster Relief fund.
The Old Benevolent Society Restoration Committee. Founded in 1883, the Old Benevolent Society is the oldest Black burial insurance lodge in West Feliciana Parish. These African American organizations have a long history in the South going all the way back to the Civil War. Usually rooted within the church, benevolent societies proved foundational for their newly freed members by allowing them to pool resources together to pay for things like medical and funeral expenses, a method of crowdsourcing that’s not unlike the mutual aid networks of today. The Old Benevolent Society Building is located on Ferdinand Street across from the West Feliciana Historical Society. Since 2018, members of the historical society and the restoration committee have been working on a campaign to preserve the deteriorating historic building, and excitingly, phase one of renovations have recently begun. However, financial support is essential to the completion of the project. Donations are now being accepted and can be made via PayPal at www.paypal.me/savetheOBSbuilding, or by mail to OES/OBSR Committee at P.O. Box 2365, St. Francisville, LA 70775. To learn more about the Old Benevolent Society building, click here to watch the short film documentary The Story of a Building.
For tips on how your charitable donation can count as a tax deduction, click here. For more financial wellness advice and community stories like these, click here to subscribe to our monthly email newsletter.