Fellowship Center reveals new office

Halen Doughty
Director Tracie Roper (center) with representatives of the Fellowship Center and PotashCorp share the ribbon cutting honors with Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux.

The Fellowship Center in Gonzales cut the ribbon on the new assistant office September 19. Mayor Barney Arceneaux was on hand for the grand opening of the expanded facility on Burnside.

Director Tracie Roper said she hopes this event will help get the word out to the community about the services they offer. The new offices in the back of the property allow people seeking assistance to do so privately, rather than having to walk through the store and in front of customers to get what they need. Roper said they're seeing an uptick in people asking for help thanks to the privacy of the new facility.

"Our main goal is privacy and getting people the help they need," Roper said.

Roper said the center offers food, both in groceries and store vouchers, as well as utility assistance, medicine, and clothes. She added if someone needs help the center cannot provide, the Fellowship Center can connect that person to other resources. She said they are also seeking donations.

"We don't take appliances, and we don't take computers and TVs," Roper said. "Anything and everything other than that for us to be able to help the parish, that's what we're about."

During the event, the staff was surprised with a $15,000 donation from PotashCorp. The center will use those dollars to help even more people in the community.

"At PotashCorp, we believe in building communities," reads a statement from PotashCorp. "We support initiatives that enhance the quality of life in the regions where we operate and reflect the goals and values of our company. We strive to develop relationships that create value for PotashCorp and our community partners."

Marie Anderson helped establish the center. She said the new expansion is the result of the hard work of hundreds of dedicated volunteers. She said the Fellowship Center began as a small operation in Prairieville and has now grown to what it is today.

The grand opening was slated to happen last year, but the flood delayed the expansion as the center took on water last August. It was quickly reopened with the help of the staff, many of whom had flood waters in their own homes.

With the expansion comes extended store hours at the showroom, which will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Fellowship Center always needs volunteers. Anyone interested in helping the community is encouraged to call 225-644-4342 and ask for Tracie.

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