Mandeville High School students Devin Pathoumthong, left, Stephen West and Katherine Treuting unload boxes of school uniforms for Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High students. Nearly 350 students received uniforms from the Emeril Lagasse Foundation and delivered by volunteers with Kids in Need During Disasters.


LIVINGSTON – Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High students got to replace school uniforms lost in the recent floods thanks to the Emeril Lagasse Foundation.

The donation to the Denham Springs schools was made through Kids in Need During Disasters (KINDD), a fund that supports children affected by natural, manmade and environmental disasters.

August’s flooding displaced many families in the Denham Springs area.

Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High’s buildings are being repaired while their students attend class at nearby schools.

In January, they were relocate to temporary campuses being set up at other schools.

“We are very appreciative to the Emeril Lagasse Foundation and the volunteers of KINDD for recognizing the need in our community and responding with such generosity,” Southside Elementary Principal Laura Williams said. 

“It’s nice that our students are receiving help, but also that they are learning how to respond to their fellow man in times like this.”

Livingston Parish School Superintendent Rick Wentzel also added his appreciation.

“We are thankful for the donation for our students in the way of clothing,” Wentzel said Monday.

“You would be surprised at how many (students) lost uniforms to the floods,” he said.

The president of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Brian Kish, said his organization had teamed up with KINDD in the past, and was proud to join their efforts again to help Livingston Parish students. 

“We’ve seen organizations from across the state and country come together during this difficult time, and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation is proud to join these efforts with KINDD and help in any way we can,” Kish said.

“Our hope is that these new uniforms help make recovery and the return to school a little easier for children and their families affected by this disaster,” he said.

The foundation donated $10,000 to KINDD in order to purchase two uniforms for each of the 350 students identified as affected by the flood, Kish said.

Each student received two pairs of short, two shirts and a sweatshirt in his or her size.

KINDD founder Karen Treuting said she was helped by friend Cathy West and Mandeville High School student volunteers Stephen West, Devin Pathoumthong, Katherine Treuting, and Chase Erickson to distribute the uniforms at the two schools. 

KINDD was formed in 2009 in response to the Gulf oil spill disaster, and has provided assistance following every hurricane and major disaster affecting Louisiana since that time, Treuting said.

It is a volunteer organization under the umbrella of the Northshore Community Foundation and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

The Emeril Lagasse Foundation was founded in 2002 by Chef Emeril Lagasse and his wife, Alden, to create opportunities to inspire, mentor and enable youth to reach their full potential.  

Since its inception, the foundation has granted more than $7 million to children’s charities to support culinary, nutrition and arts programs. 

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