Hunger. Drug addiction. Homelessness. Sex Trafficking. Poverty. These worldwide dilemmas have plagued humankind for thousands of years, appearing too monumental for any entity or individual to derail their potential societal destruction. Yet despite the magnitude of the challenges, there are special individuals everywhere blessed with an optimistic resilience to change lives by seeing beyond the darkness through providing a priceless commodity: hope. I once read that hope is the difference between hanging on and giving up. That sounds manageable, but sometimes don’t we all need someone or something to share the necessary courage to find hope in facing the future?
Through their foundation, Giving Hope NOLA, Tracy and Troy Duhon are committed to doing just that and much more. The Duhons’ journey to creating the multi-faceted Louisiana nonprofit was birthed in response to Hurricane Katrina. An owner of many successful car dealerships, Troy’s livelihood was ravaged by the hurricane’s destruction but he discovered his own loss became the impetus to give back by helping others in need. Within the first month following Katrina, a relief center was set up at his New Orleans East dealership and by 2013 it had officially become The Food Pantry of New Orleans. July 2019 broke records for The Food Pantry, with distribution of 67,831 pounds of groceries, 825 hot meals served and 3,012 households receiving food boxes.
Motivated by his late father’s directive to “find the injustice that inspires and do something about it” as well as a strong Christian faith, Troy didn’t focus the Giving Hope NOLA mission on hunger alone. The Duhons felt called to come to the aid of those most vulnerable in our New Orleans community and around the world. Locally through partnering with the New Orleans Mission, the Giving Hope Retreat Center in Lacombe opened in 2015, providing a peaceful refuge for homeless men to rebuild their lives through training, GED classes and lifestyle courses. Also addressing the sharp rise of homeless women in New Orleans, the Lynnhaven Retreat Center in Hammond opened in 2018 to aid in the recovery of women who have faced homelessness, abuse and human trafficking. Their newest program, supported by former NFL Quarterback Danny Wuerffel and Saints superstar Michael Thomas, is the Desire neighborhood Giving Hope Community Center. In partnership with Thrive New Orleans, the center is providing a safe place for families, youth and senior to foster a greater community to pursue their dreams. Job vocation training, mentoring, a wellness center, summer and after school programming are some of the valuable services provided. Additional foundation efforts target the considerable issues of human trafficking and re-entry of ex-offenders through their Hope Against Trafficking Everywhere and Angola Re-Entry programs.
The Duhons’ personal pain became their purpose in Giving Hope NOLA’s international work through funding and building of orphanages and adoption assistance for families. Hope House orphanages providing a safe, loving environment for children have been built in India, Honduras, Gambia, Russia and most recently Brazil. In their own adoption journey, Tracy and Troy realized the emotional and financial obstacles often encountered by families desiring to adopt. Through Hope for a Home, they’re able to support families through the adoption process, having placed 25 children with forever families since 2013.
Through a faith-based vision to change lives through hope and love, Giving Hope NOLA is connecting resources with the challenges we face to make a healthy, happy life a reality for all.
A little more…
You can support the mission of Giving Hope NOLA at the sixth annual “Hope Gala” on November 8. Learn more by visiting GivingHopeNOLA.org/events.