I have been processing all week because, in all honestly, I didn't even know how to share what we experienced this past weekend.
On Saturday we drove one hour (yes, only ONE HOUR) from our home in Baton Rouge, LA to Belle Rose. Our friend used to teach at the local middle school and had friends whom she considered family that she wanted to check up on.
When we arrived in Belle Rose we went straight to the local church where they had transformed their building into a sorting center. Immediately, I was transported back to the small church in Colombo, Sri Lanka where I went every day for three weeks after the tsunami, to sort clothes, food and other donations from around the world. The local church in Belle Rose had attracted so many donations in just 4 days that volunteers were sorting and folding and bagging around the clock. We arrived in the morning to help sort and soon realized that we should go ask the locals what they needed.
Preface: I had seen a few seconds of footage on the local news but nothing prepared me for what had happened just minutes down the road.
There is a lot to be done and we're setting up a platform to make it happen.
Currently, people are without homes. They need the basics for living: clothes, food, and shelter. Most of these people are staying with family or friends but their clothes and personal items are in short supply. We will be collecting donations so that we can purchase some suitcases, rubbermaid storage containers, food and any immediate clothing needs.
We will be going to Belle Rose at least once a month to support our new friends. I will be in touch every month to check in and see what their current needs are. In disaster situations, needs change from month to month as people heal and build back up. The needs may look different but we want to make sure they are taken care of nonetheless.
Here's how you can help if you're interested.
1. We set up a donation button. If you are interested in giving money directly to help this immediate need we will make sure this will get to people who need it now.
2. Come to Belle Rose with us. If you are in Louisiana and you want to come help these families directly email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out when we're going down and what the current needs are.
We know first hand that disasters are horrendous and life is difficult but we are so privileged to be able to support these beautiful people and believe for all the goodness that is ahead.