Reserve woman opens home to entire community

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 4, 2012



RESERVE – It’s one thing to open a home to family during the holidays, but for Reserve resident Olivia Gordon, her family includes a whole community.

For the past 33 years Gordon, 69, and a team of volunteers have spent the second Saturday in December preparing meals for those members of the community who may be down on their luck or going without a good hearty meal for Christmas. Gordon and her helpers package sizable lunches of multiple portions that are handed out from her home on East 24th Street in Reserve.

“I received a calling from a higher power, and I had to be obedient,” Gordon said. “As long as the Lord provides for me and my family, I will continue to serve those in the community.”

Gordon said her calling came from a constant urge to do something special for the community in which she grew up. She is originally from Garyville but has lived in Reserve for a number of years.

“It is uplifting when you see how grateful these people are,” Gordon said. “It makes us all feel so good because it is something we take pride in and enjoy doing.”

Gordon said the meals include turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, assorted vegetables and a dessert. She said the annual serving day is a product of several volunteers that include family, friends and fellow members of her church.

“It has become far too big,” Gordon said. “There is just no way I could do it all on my own. All I have to do is ask, and help arrives.”

Gordon said she gets assistance in preparing and serving from members of My Heart to Yours Christian Worship Center in LaPlace. She also rattled off a list of helpers that included her daughter, Rhonda Thompson, and friends Verna Bernard, Lethia Sienna, Myra Battiste, Barbara Stephens, Mary Anderson, Catherine Numa and others.

“Everyone has an assignment as to what to bring and prepare,” Gordon said. “We cook in the morning, get it all ready for 12 and start serving until the food is completely gone.”

Gordon said the event has become so established in the community that residents who are served line up near her home before serving can begin.

“We see them on the street and talk to them about it, but most people who we help already know what we do,” Gordon said. “We do it right before Christmas so that they can have something for the holidays.”

Gordon said for the 2011 edition, she was able to serve nearly 160 people in the community, which was one of the largest groups she has seen.

“All I can do is thank God for this opportunity,” Gordon said.