Baton Rouge cafe provides free meals for Hurricane Laura evacuees

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)- The act of giving back continues in the Baton Rouge community. Local Italian cafe, La Divina is offering free meals to those who have left their homes due to Hurricane Laura.

Martha Core brought her family into La Divina for the second time while she waits for it to be safe to return home to Lake Charles.

“Baton Rouge has absolutely shown us much love and compassion for all the evacuees, no matter where we go,” said Core.

La Divina is providing free meals to Hurricane Laura victims through donations from their own customers.

“Some of the donations actually came in from refugees from the hurricane coming in and not really wanting to partake in the opportunity of the meals, but they said they appreciate us doing it and contributed to the donation even more. So it was really rewarding on both ends,” La Divina owner, Lance Leblanc said.

The idea to give back to Lake Charles evacuees came from an initiative the cafe already has going on. La Divina also provides free meals for first responders due to the global pandemic.

As Lake Charles residents were evacuating to Baton Rouge, the cafe decided to visit surrounding hotels and let the evacuees know La Divina is a place they can come and eat during there time away from home.

“It is such a rewarding thing,” said Leblanc. “Every person that comes in and takes that meal opportunity from us, I’m sure to tell them it’s really not me doing this, this is the generosity of the community that used me as a vessel to pass out to them.”

As Core enjoyed her free meal, she shared how difficult it has been trying to get back to her home in Lake Charles.

“It was hard to drive down and see all the damage and demolition,” said Core.

In the past week La Divina has spent a couple hundred dollars for Hurricane Laura diners.

The cafe will continue to serve free meals to first repsonders and Lake Charles evacuees till donations run out.

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