Abraham’s Tent Executive Director Pearl Cole. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, November 08, 2013 5:14 PM
Volunteers at Abraham’s Tent don’t just serve hot meals to the more than 200 people who visit the facility each day; they also hand out hope and dignity.
Thanks to donations from throughout the community, that’s not going to change.
Last week, Abraham’s Tent Executive Director Pearl Cole led local and state officials in groundbreaking ceremonies for the organization’s new $1.6-million facility, which is a few feet up the road from its current location.
The fundraising process took nearly a year, but the effort was worth it.
“This isn’t a new journey; it’s a continued journey,” Cole said. “Because of the economy and the idea that people might not be able to give, people were fearful about this place. I knew I could rest easier at night because all of this is in God’s hands.”
Abraham’s Tent has served nearly 2 million meals to people in need in Southwest Louisiana over the past 27 years from behind the walls of a more than 70-year-old former school building.
“We’ve been blessed to have this facility,” Cole told the American Press before the fundraising began. “I can’t tell you how grateful we are to the (Calcasieu Parish) School Board for the facility. They have worked with us throughout the years in order to keep us here. Several times we’ve had to go to battle to keep the facility and the School Board has always been right there with us.”
But making repairs to an aging facility the organization didn’t own was taking its toll on the nonprofit group.
“There’s cement that is splitting,” Cole said. “There are things we can’t repair. You go down the hall and you see five or six different colored tiles. That’s us trying to keep things going, trying to maintain what have you. But now you have where the cement is splitting and the ceiling is pulling apart in certain sections.”
Cole had faith the charitable and giving communities within Southwest Louisiana would respond — and they did. In-kind donations from architectural, engineering and survey services were given to the facility. Churches and sororities gave, too.
Now Abraham’s Tent can begin the next chapter in its efforts to offer hope to the homeless.
Cole and the community deserves a standing ovation. We know what a big heart this community shows when our friends and neighbors are in need, and we can think of few greater needs that ensuring there is food on the table.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Mike Jones, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.