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Birdies feeds first responders: Free meals offered to community heroes

LULING — Birdies Food & Fuel owner “YoYo” Nabut likes to give back to first responders in the community any time he feels they are overworked and underappreciated.

Over the weekend, Birdies locations in St. John the Baptist, St. Charles and Jefferson parishes showed appreciation for police, firefighters, EMS workers, nurses and doctors on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.

Each first responder that visited the participating locations was treated to a free combo meal. Nabut said there are plans to continue the free meals for first responders this weekend, and potentially every weekend until the coronavirus loosens its grip on the community.

“It’s a show of appreciation for what they do. While everybody is hunkering down at home, they are attacking the situation,” Nabut said. “It takes a special individual to do that. They’re doing a job that many won’t do for the pay they get, and sadly, most of the time they are underappreciated. Our hats are off to them. Any time we can help, we are happy to do so.”

YoYo and Mike Nabut delivered more than 70 free combo meals from Birdies to hospital workers in recognition of their dedication to treating patients during the COVID-19 response.

On Saturday, Birdies representatives delivered an additional 73 meals to nurses, doctors and other medical team members working long hours to fight COVID-19 at St. Charles Parish Hospital.

The first responders were grateful for the appreciation and for the special bonds built with area businesses. There was a good showing of first responders between LaPlace, Hahnville and Marerro, according to Nabut. Marrero was of interest because of its proximity to the new COVID-19 drive-thru testing site.

Those who stopped by over the weekend don’t comprise all the friendly first responders who frequent Birdies locations before and after work on a regular basis.

“A lot of them have become friends,” Nabut said. “They are customers, but we become close and exchange numbers.”

Staff members at St. Charles Parish Hospital are happy to receive free lunch.

Criminal defense attorney Jake Lemmon, a member of the One Team One Fight nonprofit for first responders, said Birdies is an exceptional community partner. In addition to feeding first responders, the Birdies team has supported recreational sports and local events.

“This is just another testament to the incredibly generous community we live in,” Lemmon said. “The people in our community are there for others. We have seen this time and time again. The people at Birdies make it one of the most community-involved businesses around.”

That level of support goes hand-in-hand with the mission of One Team One Fight. While the annual crawfish cook-off raising money for first responders has been postponed until June 6 amid coronavirus concerns, there is always a need to acknowledge the bravest members of the community.

“I sure hope that these trying times make everyone realize how vital first responders are. These people are literally putting their lives in jeopardy every single minute of every single day to assist others in critical times,” Lemmon said. “I am so proud to be a member of this profession and a part of this team. The entire team. One team. One fight. Everyone plays a part.”

While first responders work to keep the community safe in this critical time, Lemmon said the best way for the public to show appreciation is by heeding the guidance of officials, staying home and staying safe.