Local church, pharmacy offer free flu shots

The homeless outreach team at Water’s Edge followed its usual Thursday routine of providing groceries and meals to the homeless this week, but it teamed up with Walgreen’s to also provide free flu shots.

Kelli Tidwell Stawecki, a local advocate for the homeless, said her group also donated coats, gloves, and other winter apparel to those in need since the area had a recent burst of cold weather.

"This is what we do every single Thursday," Stawecki said. "We give out many groceries, help the homeless with various issues, and then we hit the streets with 100 hot meals for those who can’t get here."

Kevin Guidry, a Calcasieu Parish police juror for District 9, was bustling about and helping people load up their groceries or pointing them to the area where they could get their flu shots.

"I’m really glad he came out today because I think it’s very important that people see with their own eyes what’s going on with our homeless population and just how many people we serve," Stawecki said.

Linda Courville, 75, said she picks up groceries at Water’s Edge every week.

"It’s just fantastic that they have this available for those of us who need it," Courville said. "I pick up my groceries but then I also share some of what I have with my neighbors when I can because some of them can’t get out at all."

Courville said she was a waitress for much of her life and worked at several restaurants over the years, including Black Angus Steakhouse and Paw Paw’s Seafood.

"I helped to open up the buffet at Isle of Capri and worked as a waitress there for about 14 years," Courville said. "I love people and I never meet a stranger. We all need a hand up sometimes and that’s what’s so good about the program here at Water’s Edge; they help anyone who needs it."

Mike Sackett has been a volunteer for several years at Water’s Edge and said he and his wife help out with the food program every week.

"Seeing so many families and children in need just kills me," Sackett said. "A lot of them are working and they are managing to get by with most things but they really do need our assistance with food. This is a great program and Ms. Kelli (Stawecki) has such a huge heart for the homeless."