The Untold Story Of The Mormon Bayou Food Angel
How does it sound to cook food for an army of Mormon Helping Hand volunteers? How about doing the cooking from a mobile kitchen? How about doing with only limited help? Any takers? Oh, one more thing, you’re paying for all the food yourself and not getting paid for your work. Who in their right mind would do that? I know someone, Glenda Fuller, nicknamed the Mormon Bayou Food Angel.
Hundreds of Mormon Helping Hands volunteers ate her food this past weekend but almost no one knows her story, I had the chance to spend 2-3 hours helping Glenda Saturday night and she told me her story of service and sacrifice.
Backing up a bit, this Labor Day weekend I had the opportunity to accompany the Charleston South Carolina YSA Branch to Baton Rouge Louisiana as we joined with members across the south to help with the flooding clean up. It was surreal it looked like a war zone with what could only be described as rubble everywhere.
At the end of gutting houses for the day we were told to head to the Zachary Ward building, as it was acting as the command post because the stake center was damaged by the flooding. (The story of how the Zachery building was protected from the floods is worth telling itself!) As we arrived in at the building we noticed there was food, which was odd because they told us that there would not be food provided. So I found the lady in charge (Glenda Fuller from Bossier Louisiana) and I asked her story and let me say it was amazing. Here is her story.
Glenda Fuller and her husband Kenneth live in Bossier, she runs a catering company called “cooking cousins” with her cousins of course. Earlier this year their home flooded with 2 feet of water so when she heard of the flooding here in Baton Rouge she wanted to help.
Physically with her back problems she can’t do much work so she wanted to find a way to help, So she prayed and reached out to Andrew Maas the man who is in charge of the Baker Mormon Helping Hands Command Center. She asked what she could do to help and he explained that everyone was being told to bring their own food and to gut houses. Glenda who could not physically gut a house told Andrew “I can cook! Can I come down and cook for everyone?” She told me that she thought for sure Andrew thought she was crazy but he told her to come on down.
So Glenda called her husband and asked him to grab their trailer which contained their mobile kitchen, he asked what was going on and she told him her plan, she wanted to go to Baton Rouge to help, when he arrived with the trailer she started to load it with their food storage, her husband asked “What are you doing?” to which she replied “This is what food storage is for!” With the trailer loaded full of food and her mobile kitchen she headed to Baton Rouge, arriving Friday and setting up her kitchen.
Glenda, using her own money then bought over 200 lbs of meat to supplement her dry goods from her food storage supplies. She arrived and set up shop. Saturday night when I met Glenda she had a feast of food out for all the hungry workers who had just finished putting in 7-9 hours gutting mold infested houses. Dinner (Pot roast, pasta salad, and dirty rice) was a welcome surprise to the hungry workers who were planning on eating their own food, many people told us they planned on just eating just a peanut butter and honey sandwich.
The workers filed in all night long and by the time the BYU game started at 9:30 we started to take down the kitchen. As Glenda was talking to me as we cleaned her phone rang she answered: “It is far worse here than we had it. Ya, I need to be down here, you know what I like.” Confused I looked at her and asked who it was and she told me “My contractor.” “WHAT?” I asked she explained that her contractor had planned on coming down the finally finish their house that weekend but that she had left her husband to handle everything because she felt she needed to be down here in Baton Rouge.
She had already been through so much. Losing so much of her house and almost their entire daughter’s house next door back in March. Yet instead of thinking “wo is me” or “I’ve already dealt with enough this year.” she was here serving. I told her was an angel, the Bayou food angel! She instead told me that she just wanted to help and after praying she felt she could cook! By the time I had finished helping Glenda break down the kitchen it was almost 11:30, I asked her what time she needed to get up in the morning? And she told me “oh about 4:30 to get breakfast ready in time,” I asked her where she was sleeping that night and she pointed at a low table and said she planned on sleeping on that outside in her kitchen.
Sure enough breakfast was ready in the morning for an army of volunteers, pancakes, and oatmeal for 400+ We had a sacrament meeting of hundreds of volunteers from all over nation where Elder Maynes talked about “pure religion” and how it is serving others, he shared this verse with all of the volunteers before we went out for the last day of the Mormon Helping Hands disaster relief in Baton Rouge “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” Mosiah 2:17.
All day long I thought of this verse as we spent the Sabbath “doing good” and serving others. When the day was done and we all felt exhausted and spent. I returned to the Church to the smell of Jambalaya, the Bayou Food Angel had been cooking all day, once again to provide food for an army. Very humbly this lady served upon asking her she said: “I want to help, and this is what I can do.” I told her I wanted to share her story and she agreed, she told me she hopes her story will inspire others to do what they can to help others! Truly the Glenda Fuller is living pure religion, she is the Bayou food angel, cooking for the armies of God.
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