Flood Disaster Relief Efforts
We are grateful to those who have contributed to our Flood Disaster Relief Fund by financial contributions, donations of supplies and volunteering their time and efforts. As of today, we have identified one hundred families of our church who have lost their homes and possessions in the flood. For our relatively small parish this is a big hit. These families represent some of our most active and generous parishioners. We are committed to helping them as much as we possibly can during this long road to recovery.
Let us share with you some of the things we have been doing that contributions of money, supplies, and volunteer time have made possible.
In the immediate days after the flooding, volunteers from our church prepared meals for a local shelter. We "multiplied the loaves and fishes" and provided two meals for 300 displaced persons.
Parish volunteers made lunches of sandwiches, a cookie and a cold drink and delivered them to families who had begun the work of gutting their ruined homes.
A group of unaffected parishioners called every registered parishioner to ascertain if they had been affected by the flooding and to identify their immediate needs. It is very valuable that we have an accurate master list of the families in need.
Through our Jesuit network, we were blessed with many volunteer workers from around South Louisiana. We matched them up with approximately 25 families who needed assistance in gutting their homes. This volunteer labor was invaluable in helping folks accomplish the first and maybe the hardest task of emptying out and stripping their houses down to the studs.
We have kept our Parish Activity Center stocked with supplies that have been donated to us. Church volunteers are keeping the center open each day so that people in need can avail themselves of cleaning supplies, clothing, toiletries, personal items, and bedding.
Most families lost their vehicles in the flood and were without transportation that limited their ability to access resources. We loaded up cars and went out to people's houses and delivered all sorts of cleaning supplies and personal items.
I have made every effort to visit as many families as I can at their houses to offer support and prayer.
On Sunday, August 28, many families were able to return to Mass. We had a Spirit filled celebration of comfort and hope. Following Mass, families and individuals who were flooded were able to come to the Activity Center to get supplies. We prepared 300 jambalaya dinners for them to eat there or to take home. We also presented gift cards to help them with immediate expenses.
As we go forward and try to return to some normalcy, while nothing is normal, families will be looking for temporary housing. negotiating with FEMA and their insurance companies (for the few who had flood insurance) and returning to work. Their children will be returning to school. We will be discerning what the future needs will be and how we can meet them. For continued support of our efforts, of course, money and gift cards in amounts of $25 and $50, cleaning supplies, toiletries, sheets, pillows and kitchen items will be much appreciated.
You will find updates at this web site and also at the website of the Jesuit Central and South Province at Jesuits Central Southern Province
Most of all we need your prayers! As a community of faith we believe that prayer works and changes things as God is always working it out. For those in the overwhelming process of rebuilding thier lives, our motto us becoming, "The devil tells you how far you have to go, but God tells you how far you've come!"
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Thomas F. Clark, SJ