Blessed to be a Blessing, Cargill partner to distribute 700 turkeys

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 27, 2019

RESERVE — More than 700 families in need are thankful to have a Thanksgiving feast thanks to the efforts of local nonprofit Blessed to be a Blessing and Cargill Inc. of Reserve.

Blessed to be a Blessing founder Eliza Eugene has coordinated a turkey giveaway each November since 2014. The amount of turkeys distributed has risen from 400 to 700 per year, and Eugene would like to see that number grow to meet the needs of the community.

While the giveaway was scheduled for 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday, the first car arrived by 4:30 a.m. By 6 a.m., more than 100 cars were in line, backing up Airline between LaPlace and East St. John High School in Reserve.

Cargill plant manager Jeremy Seyfert directed traffic during the event. Walgreens store manager Pamela Bates was among many volunteers, which also included elected officials and high school students.

Cargill plant manager Jeremy Seyfert directed traffic during the event.

Tickets were required to participate in the giveaway. Eugene invited every person registered with the Council on Aging. Invites additionally went out to all tenants in St. John Parish public housing, individuals who receive assistance from Health and Human Services, local Veterans and families who called for tickets in the weeks leading up to the event.

One Veteran in particular warmed Eugene’s heart when she saw him patiently waiting in the line of vehicles on his bicycle.

Eugene was reminded that more that 45 percent of St. John Parish families live in poverty, according to a report by United Way.

“The giveaway is a full meal, and it really helps a lot of families,” Eugene said. “When we have events like this, it really shines a light on the great need that we have and how, as a community, we can help. We may not be able to tackle all of it, but as long as we keep doing our part, I feel that God is pleased with it.”

Blessed to be a Blessing is a 100 percent volunteer-driven organization, according to Eugene.

“It’s a labor of love for us,” she said. “Everything we receive is given back to the community.”

To support future St. John Parish outreach events, call 504-451-4712 or email