BEAUMONT, Texas — At an event in Beaumont, hundreds of volunteers packed thousands of freeze-dried meals for children in Africa.
The massive food drive took place at St. Anne's Catholic Church on Saturday. Volunteers helped the Richard Gagne Charitably Foundation pack meals for children in Uganda.
Richard Gagne founded the Richard Gagne Charitable Foundation after visiting Uganda in 2003. The foundation, "is dedicated to helping youth in the United States and worldwide," according to their website.
"One of our students had a school for orphans and asked myself and the director to go visit, which we did," Gagne said. "I got attached to the children there, so that’s how it started with that first school, 30 orphans now there are 267."
The organization later added two more schools in Uganda, which currently help to educate almost 1,000 children.
Gagne believes the need in Uganda is critical and alarming.
"If you feel that prices for food and other expenses have gone up here in America, in a third world country, sometimes even if you have the money, you cannot get the food," Gagne said. "So, we are teaching them to be self-sustaining."
The freeze-dried meals that were packed on Saturday are expected to go to two of the schools. More than 270,000 meals were packed.
"The need is very critical in that third world country when it comes to food and water," Gagne said. "We are blessed in America. Ninety percent of the people on the planet do not love like we do. They live like they do in that third world country, that dictatorship in Uganda."
Almost 600 volunteers were at Saturday's event. Gagne feels the amount of support is amazing and believes it shows that wonderful things are being done in Southeast Texas.
"We see a lot of bad news, and we don’t see enough of the good things that are being done," Gagne said.
Gagne expects and hopes the food will get to Uganda by December 2022 or January 2023.