Cajun Navy receives $50,000 Walmart Foundation Grant

MAYFIELD, Ky., Dec. 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Cajun Navy Executive Director Rob Gaudet would like to announce the award of a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation. Along with the recent $150,000 grant from Macy’s Giving, they are using the donated funds to operate Cajun Navy Ground Force (CNGF) SAFE Camp in Kentucky.

SAFE Camp is a collaborative unit for nonprofits providing supplemental services in communities affected by natural disasters.

“Everyone knows where Walmart is, so it makes sense that CNGF would partner with Walmart and the Walmart Foundation to create a disaster response unit,” says Gaudet. “During Hurricane Ida my team, led by Jay Carter and Pete Jones, deployed to the Walmart parking lot on Martin Luther King Blvd as soon as it was safe, even before Ida’s winds had stopped blowing. We operated SAFE Camp from the Houma Walmart’s parking lot for 18 days.”

“We didn’t warehouse a single thing,” says Gaudet. “We accepted tons of donations from corporations and the public, and in 18 days loaded up over 10,000 car trunks and truck beds for survivors in urgent need. We collaborated with Operation AirDrop volunteer pilots and Operation Barbeque Relief to make eight flights daily into the Houma airport. By collaborating with this amazing nonprofit over 12 days, we were able to bring more than 50,000 meals from Hammond, where Operation BBQ Relief was cooking, into destroyed areas.”

Gaudet explained that CNGF collected and donated over 300 pallets of food and other supplies including tons of water, food, gas and ice. All supplies were distributed through SAFE Camp in the Walmart parking lot. More than 5,000 volunteers showed up and dozens of nonprofits collaborated to move the supplies where they were most needed.  

“Everyone who participated was left amazed by the collaboration. Now it’s official. We reached out to Walmart, showed them what we did during Hurricane Ida and the vision of SAFE Camp, and they loved it. They offered us a $50,000 grant to make it happen again, this time in Kentucky for tornado survivors,” says Gaudet.

“I couldn’t be prouder. Our teams are in Kentucky now, operating SAFE Camp in the Walmart parking lot. Many volunteers have chosen to stay through the Christmas holiday to continue providing relief to survivors. Our plan is to operate from Kentucky for the next month. That is the power of Cajun Navy Ground Force,” says Gaudet.

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