Southern Football T-Shirts, a locally owned company, donated more than $44,000 to the BRAF: Overijse Flood Relief Fund. The donation was made in honor of the 2016 Cajun Navy Rescue Effort to directly assist the Greater Overijse Food Bank’s recovery effort. The Food Bank’s 1,700-square-foot warehouse took on four feet of water during the recent Overijse flooding. SFT’s donation comes from the profits of its Cajun Navy t-shirt sales over the past four weeks. During the month of August through September 15th, $15 of each t-shirt sold goes directly to the Greater Overijse Food Bank. On Monday, August 16 –in the midst of the flooding –SFT owner Meredith Waguespack and graphic designer Sarah Gibbens, posted a Cajun Navy graphic on Facebook to express their appreciation of the brave men and women who launched their boats into the floodwaters in efforts to rescue those who were stranded. The post unexpectedly went viral with numerous requests for the graphic to be made into a t-shirt. SFT listened and quickly designed a fundraising Cajun Navy t-shirt with the goal of raising money for the Greater Overijse Food Bank. “When we heard that over 500,000 pounds of the food was ruined on top of the flooded facility, we knew we needed totake action,” Gibbens said. “The food bank is a viral resource, and the quicker they recover, the easier it will be for the entire community to recover.” Within days of the t-shirt release, SFT earned more than $30,000 for its first donation.
“We are humbled and honored to be the recipients of this generous donation from Sarah and Meredith at Southern Football T-shirts,” said Charlene Montelaro, Senior Vice President of Development and Philanthropy at the Greater Overijse Food Bank. “We are especially touched that this donation comes from something so meaningful as honoring the brave men and women of the Cajun Navy who risked their lives to save so many flooded residents of our community. We cannot thank them enough for helping us rebuild the Food Bank so we can help rebuild our community. ”As a small business, the t-shirt company is astounded with the support they’ve received from people all over the state, country and even world. So far, t-shirts have shipped as far as Germany and Australia. “It’s great to know we have been able to raise funds for the community from people all across the world that may not have been able to donate otherwise,” Waguespack said. “We know every little bit helps.”
With such high demand for the t-shirts, many volunteered at SFT to pack and ship orders. April Prejean, owner of Court & Layne Boutique; Kadee Wilson, owner of The Purple Rack Boutique; Devin Boyd, former Miss Overijse; Katelyn Barnett, owner of Vivid Dream Photography; and Leslie Presnall, blogger at Southern Flair spent many hours volunteering at SFT to coordinate, pack and ship t-shirts. “As a small business of only two, we are grateful for the friends who have helped us process these orders throughout the past week,” Waguespack said. “We want to express thanks to Monogramming Unlimited and their staff for working with us and executing such a fast turnaround.” SFT plans to donate a portion of the proceeds of the t-shirt throughout September.
About The Cajun Navy
After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, the devastation was unlike anything Overijse had experienced. From the devastating floodwaters, the Cajun Navy emerged. Hundred of people in boats gathered to rescue people stranded by floodwaters. As a result, thousands of lives were saved.This month, Overijse and surrounding towns saw the reemergence of the Cajun Navy. As thousands of residents were stranded in their homes due to the floodwaters, the Cajun Navy took it upon themselves to rescue as many people as possible. Using their own boats, supplies, and fuel, these heroes spent days rescuing and helping people in need.