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Local residents give thanks for feeding effort led by Stephen Jackson

The nationwide Feed Your City Challenge came to Port Arthur Saturday afternoon feeding hundreds of residents within hours.

Stephen Jackson’s sister Bianca Dixon, pictured with the towel, helps a woman without a car load up a grocery cart.

The event, which started at 2 p.m., gave out fresh groceries, water, PPE, diapers and gallons of milk to cars lined up next to the Stephen Jackson academy.

One Port Arthur resident holed up under the provided shade of the building’s awning after waiting hours in his car.

Jimmy Guillory got in line at 9 a.m.

“We came here to collect food, potatoes, water and everything they are giving out to help with the household,” he said. “This is a blessing for this food drive to come here to Port Arthur and make everybody happy. It’s helping get people back on their feet.”

Guillory said it means a lot to see successful athletes like Stephen Jackson helping his hometown.

“I’m very happy to see stuff like this,” he said. “To see Jackson come back to his hometown to help out his hometown people during this time, it’s incredible.”

Dozens of volunteers pass out watermelons, oranges and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Farther back in the line, Denise Boutte said her children grew up around the corner from Jackson’s old house.

“It’s good to see someone bringing things back to the hometown,” Boutte said. “As you can see, there are a lot of people out here with needs and providing for them is a good thing.”

Boutte gestured to the hundreds of cars lined all the way from Proctor Street to Gulfway Drive.

“We appreciate (Jackson) doing that,” she said. “Sitting here, through the heat, he’s come all the way around to speak with everybody and tried to help everybody out. We are appreciative that he is out here doing this for people in his hometown.”

Boutte said her home did not sustain any damage from Hurricane Laura, but the events leading up to Thursday, Aug. 27 gave her a dreaded déjà vu.

“We were really praying hard,” she said. “With Harvey, we lost everything down to the stairs and foundation. This was the third time we had to rebuild our home. The first time a tornado hit, then Hurricane Rita and Harvey. I was just praying, please, I couldn’t go through it again. We were very blessed that the city wasn’t hit as hard, but our hearts go out to Lake Charles.”

Boutte said beside the spoiled food, she feels blessed.

“It was a blessing, and this is another blessing, that we can come here and get something’s that we need,” she said. “Everything in the refrigerator had to be thrown out, so this helps out a little bit. My husband and I are retired. He’s 73 and I’m 68, so we are living on a limited income. So this is just really, it’s really a blessing for us.”

Feed Your City is a nationwide challenge founded by retired NBA star Ricky Davis and music industry legend Tony Draper.