Tupelo Mississippi Based St.Kitts native using fundraiser to benefit St.Vincent and the Grenadines

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A Caribbean native is looking towards her second home in Tupelo to help those displaced in her homeland.

By: Daniella Oropeza 

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) – A Caribbean native is looking towards her second home in Tupelo to help those displaced in her homeland. 

A volcano eruption on the island of St. Vincent displaced many to Kalil Newton-Delacoudray’s homeland of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Now, she is partnering with a Tupelo-based organization to share her culture and support those in need. 

Delacoudray shared cellphone video from friends and family of the La Soufrière volcano eruption on the island of St. Vincent. It erupted for the first time in 42 years. 

This area is not far from where Delacoudray is from and she describes it as a beautiful place. 

“The people are warm and friendly,” she said. “And especially, with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines community, it’s very similar to our culture in St. Kitts and Nevis.”

Several years ago, Delacoudray met Lauren McIlwain, the founder of Cooking as a First Language.

Delacoudray led a cooking class, teaching attendees how to cook food from the Caribbean. 

Since then, the two women remained friends. Now, they are collaborating on a benefit called “Cooking for the Caribbean.”

“Because of the effects of the volcanic eruption, people from St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been displaced,” Delacoudray said. “All that loss of a sense of community, you know, it’s profound and I just thought I needed to do something.”

“We are hoping to work with the Mississippi Red Cross,” McIlwain said. “We’re talking to them. I’m not exactly how yet.”

Right now, what is supposed to be a sunny day in the Caribbean instead looks like a dreary day because ash fills the air. In a cellphone video shared by Delacoudray, someone describes it as looking like snowfall. 

“Mask wearing is taking on a new meaning,” she said. “I’ve seen video where people are literally sweeping ash.”

“Cooking for the Caribbean” will take place Friday, May 14.

Those wishing to attend can purchase a $15 ticket and choose an entree between curried chicken, stewed oxtail and baked salmon. There will be side dishes and additional treats to choose from for an additional fee. 

Tickets can be bought on the Cooking as a First Language website. 

This is a drive-thru event in the parking lot of All Saints Episcopal Church off of Jefferson Street in Tupelo. 

“It’s a win-win situation,” McIlwain said. “You get to eat Kalil’s amazing food, and the money that you spend on a ticket is going toward people who need your help right now.”

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