Little Fish Food Pantry brings community together

Published 5:45 am Monday, November 7, 2022

Monica Broussard of The Little Fish Food Pantry Ministry in Sulphur began a new outdoor food cabinet project in June after seeing a great need in the community.

“I’ve always watched the foot traffic when I am out making deliveries or shopping for our ministry,” she said. “Currently, we have five churches in Sulphur that have outdoor food cabinets, but the cabinets are not in the area where I see the most foot traffic.”

In response, that day she made it a goal to build five new outdoor food cabinets in high-traffic areas.

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“I went home and mapped out churches in the areas of foot traffic and began calling them to see if they would be interested in having an outdoor food cabinet,” she said. “Within just a few days I found five churches that wanted the outdoor cabinets”

So far, two cabinets have been built. These cabinets were funded by two garage sale fundraisers that were hosted over the summer.

The first new cabinet, which was installed at Wesley United Methodist Church, is located within walking distance of her childhood home. This cabinet has become special to Broussard.

“It was personal to me, because there was a lot of need in that area … I built it right in my memory area.”

The home serves as a reminder of her loved ones that have passed.

“I lost my mother, Martha Broussard, when I was 15 and my brother, Captain Alvin Broussard, graduate of Westpoint and a Green Beret, to a helicopter accident,” she said. “I lost my father in 2019.”

When you lose someone, you hold on to their memories. This cabinet was built and placed with my memories.”

The second cabinet was recently installed at Celebration Worship Center. Broussard is meeting with local organizations to retrieve funding for the remaining three cabinets, which will be built at Calvary Baptist Church, Trinity Lutheran Church and Vincent Baptist Church.

There are now seven active The Little Fish Food Pantries throughout churches in Sulphur — Our Lady School,Our Lady of Lasallette, Maplewood Church of Christ, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church,Sulphur First Baptist, Celebration Worship Center and Wesley United Methodist Church.

For Broussard, the construction of the cabinets is a community effort.

“During this project, I have met so many people in our community that have been putting food in the outdoor cabinets,” she said. “I love seeing our small-town community coming together to help those in need.”

On a monthly basis, Broussard builds tubs full of supplies — dry goods, non-perishables and sanitary supplies — and delivers them to the churches with cabinets. This practice has made the process of keeping them stocked more efficient. “Ashely, my daughter, she’ll drop off the tubs once a month to the churches. Then they’ll go out there everyday and put two or three things in them each day,” she said. “So, there is something in there all the time.”

The Little Fish is a multi-generational ministry, which includes Broussard, daughter Ashely Vest and granddaughters Grace and Chloe Vest. For Broussard and her family, volunteerism has become hereditary.

“There is something about having your daughter and your grandkids proud of you and what you’ve accomplished, it sets an example for them. I know this, because my mom being a lay minister, set that example for me,” she explained.

The ministry is run out of her home. From there, she has established two programs. One such program is the Brown Bag Meals. She and her family provide 250 brown bag meals to churches in Sulphur and Lake Charles. The 2nd program is a grocery assistance program in partnership with local churches and the Sulphur Senior Center. Through this program, 15 elderly and disabled residents are regularly provided with groceries.