As we continue to monitor one of the busiest hurricane seasons ever, several groups in Baton Rouge are still lending a helping hand to the greater Lake Charles area.
“It got hit pretty hard. I mean, there was probably 125 mile per hour winds in my hometown, not many of those structures are made for 125 mile per hour winds.”
Baton Rouge resident Jeff Miller grew up in Iowa, Louisiana, a quaint town in Calcasieu Parish, caught in the destructive path of Hurricane Laura.
Miller added, “There’s just a lot of need. It’s a really small place. If you remember when Hurricane Katrina hit, Mississippi was referred to as the land mass East of New Orleans, so this is kind of the land mass West of New Orleans. It’s not a heavily populated area, but still a lot of damage.”
Over the last few weeks, Jeff and his wife Mary, and children Joseph and Mary Grace, started making and transporting food donations. Jeff’s employer Methanex also joined the relief effort, and just this past weekend, they set back out to feed two thousand people.
But that’s not all, as even more groups joined the mission, including St. Joseph’s Academy in Baton Rouge.
“We are to respond to the needs of the dear neighbor,” Sister Chris Pologa of St. Joseph’s said. “Well the dear neighbor was devastated through the hurricane. Therefore, we have to roll up our sleeves, get out there and do what we can to help. So we did, we sent a message out to the girls, I’m telling you the community cane together. Faculty, students, students adopted other teens, the staff came in, our food service came in. Our parents and our alumni, they all came together and said what can we do to help?”
The Red Stickers went to work, assembling thousands of ‘Sticker Sacks’, containing lunches, snacks and other needed items to help hurricane victims.
“I cant even imagine what they’re going through, it must be so hard,” SJA junior Grace Anne Crifasi said. “But just the fact they know there is such a large community behind them, supporting them, that want to help however we can. That must be really reassuring and gives them piece of mind.
SJA senior Jennifer Sims added, “Just taking the time to make something for somebody else, it’s really appreciated, and so just however we can help and just offer our gifts to them.”
Sister Pologa added, “I expected 1,000 sticker sacks. When we have over 7,000, I really am touched by the girls’ generosity, it’s just phenomenal to see that they understand the call of the gospel to help out the dear neighbor. The call of the sisters to help out, to give back and to share the generosity that we have, whatever it is to help someone else.”
As generous as these acts are, Miller knows the people of Louisiana are equally resilient.
“Just gotta keep positive thoughts, keep helping your neighbor, and we’re going to get through this.”