Trinity Lutheran Church in Leesville/Fort Polk, LA, held its 25th annual gumbo fundraiser on November 2-4, 2017. This fundraiser is held each year to help raise money for Helping Hands, a community organization that works to provide meals for low-income senior citizens.
The planning for the gumbo cook spanned the entire summer, as bell peppers and okra were donated and prepared by church members Glenn Salger and Linda Westeen, from Glenn’s garden. Over the weeks preceding the event, members Bill and Tilli Walker worked to secure donations of sausage, onions, and more. Whole chickens were bought by numerous members of the congregation, then cooked, deboned, and prepared for the gumbo. The communal work began on November 2, when members joined together in the church kitchen to wash and prepare containers. On November 3, members got together in the fellowship hall to cut up 60 pounds of sausage and 48 pounds of tear-inducing onions. Finally, on November 4, the big day had arrived. Everyone gathered together at 8:00 a.m. that Saturday morning to begin cooking and, after four hours of stirring, adding ingredients & seasoning, stirring, stirring some more, and ladling into quart containers, everything was completed. Two hundred and thirty-nine (239) quarts were made and sold, both to members of the congregation and people throughout the community. Special thanks to the following individuals for all of their help: Bill and Tilli Walker, Paxton and June Thomas, Glenn Salger, Linda Westeen, Perry and Lesa Perkins, Carrie Huneke, Cherri Cowan, Paula Ottestad, Linda Schirmer, Rev. Brad and Kim Lessman, Pastor Josh and Tiffany Leigeber (and even six-year-old Elijah Leigeber, who worked as a water boy to keep everyone hydrated)!