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Meet Vilma

Campti is a small community about 12 miles outside the city of Natchitoches, just far enough to make it hard for many residents to get into town. For folks who rely on food pantries to supplement their groceries, it’s especially

difficult, when two in five families don’t have reliable transportation. One Campti resident has taken it upon herself to help. For years, Vilma Lawson has been sharing what she has. “People would come to my house and I would give ‘em groceries. Because they had children, you know, and if someone tells you they’re hungry and they’ve got kids, you’re gonna help ‘em out.”

A couple of years ago, the Food Bank of Central Louisiana began sending a mobile food pantry to Campti every month. Vilma says that the community really needed it. “It makes a lot of difference. It does. No one really has transportation.” Multiple families arrive at the drive-through distribution together in one vehicle, neighbors bringing neighbors to make sure everyone has food for the month. And even now that she no longer works and uses food services herself, Vilma still helps; picking up food for eight to a dozen families who can’t come themselves. She usually enlists one of her 15 grandchildren to drive a second car so that there’s enough space to carry everyone’s food. And then she delivers it to their doors. “When I leave here, I go out to Black Lake and get it to one of the guys – he’s on kidney dialysis so he can’t come, so I get it for him.” She also spends time making phone calls and filling out benefit applications for neighbors who don’t have internet or can’t read well enough; and she takes people shopping at the store; and so many other things…

Her kind spirit is moving and inspirational to those her meet her, but it all makes simple sense to Vilma. “You try to help people, you know. It’s what you’re supposed to do.”


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