METAIRIE, La. (WDSU) — Debbie Landry wasn’t content to sit at her Metairie home once the coronavirus forced her to close her two small businesses.
Instead, she looked for ways to support those on the front lines of fighting the outbreak.
“It was about making sure everyone knew they were valued and that, while we’re not in there with them, we’re out here with them,” Landry told WDSU.
On March 20, she posted a Facebook message seeking help to collect items that could be packaged and delivered to health care providers and first-responders. Her efforts mushroomed when a couple of local businesses got involved, and since then, she’s personally assembled more than 400 laundry baskets filled with snacks, drinks and small tokens of appreciation.
The gift baskets have been distributed at hospitals, clinics and fire stations in New Orleans, Jefferson Parish, Chalmette, Hammond and Baton Rouge, according to Landry.
She has connected with employees of these facilities to make sure the baskets end up in the right hands. In addition to doctors and nurses, hospital maintenance workers, security guards and custodial staff have also received them.
“I’ve been blessed with a few helps, but they are really amazing,” Landry said.
Elmer’s Chee-Wees and Big Shot Soda have donated their products to Landry’s effort – and refused payment when she offered it.
Friends and acquaintances have made shopping trips to fill the baskets, and others have made regular runs to dollar stores to keep Landry supplied with laundry baskets.
Landry said she’ll keep up the deliveries as long as donations and supplies keep coming in.
By: Greg LaRose
Chief Investigative Reporter