BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - This month's Power of 9 honors a woman who takes care of her family and those in the community who can't afford to pay for food. She works for free to help others.
Every morning at 7:30, Monique Cole cleans up the apartment. The day the camera visited she was sweeping up cereal that landed on the floor instead of in the mouth. She and Floyd Price have a 3-year-old son, Messiah Cole, who is out of school for the summer, and his big sister, Monica, is 19.
Monica wants to start BRCC this fall. She spends a lot of time cleaning up his toys. On that particular morning, he was all about a deck of playing cards. He was throwing cards, shrieking with delight and Monica was scooping them up and handing them back to him. Messiah and Donna Britt played an imaginary game that calls for slamming cards on a pillow, as they sat on a mattress on the floor.
Monique said she and Floyd are both unemployed and that it's hard to find a job. One thing that does not help is they can't afford a car. Monique's been out of work since 2009. But, Monique's also done work for free since that time. Her mornings start with the family cleaning up.
"I feed the kids, bathe him (Messiah) and head straight on to work!" Monique said.
Year-round, Monique sets out at a brisk pace, waking from her home on Mohican-Prescott Crossover to Winbourne, where she works from 8 a.m. to about 1 p.m. and sometimes longer, at Hope Ministries.
She said she does some heavy lifting sometimes.
"We sits the carts out for the boxes that come through and when the boxes come through, we take the boxes, bring them in here, and we sit the stuff on the shelves," she explained.
Monique is so dependable that the manager of the community food pantry can skip work a day and Monique will open up the pantry and make sure everyone is served. She knows the operations from top to bottom, probably because she stacked the groceries herself. Floyd has been helping a good bit lately. But she's been doing this for years.
More than 13,000 people have gotten food in the Hope Ministries food pantry. Do they have any idea the lengths to which some people go to put bread on tables of the poor? Monique Cole knows. Rain or shine, she's there arriving on foot, then returning home for her family.