On May 18th, 2021, as much as 18 inches of rain poured into the southwest Louisiana communities. As a result, highways and streets flooded while water made its way into homes and businesses in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles.
Louisiana has been hit hard with tragedy several times in the last year. First, in August of 2020, Hurricane Laura devasted communities. Then, soon after, Hurricane Delta made landfall in October, causing further damage to the already ravaged homes. In response to the crisis in their city, 40 churches from all over southwest Louisiana partnered together to form SWLA Responds.
Once the floodwaters started coming in again this May, SWLA Responds was one of the first organizations to react and began working quickly. They immediately started mixing and filling up sandbags for the community and had completed their first thousand bags before the end of the day. The city assisted the coalition by providing more sand to allow for the continued production of bags. In all, they used nearly 2 million pounds of sand to create a total of 3,000 sandbags.
" We know here in Southwest Louisiana; hope is so important. You have an opportunity to bring a piece of equipment that can bring hope to someone, especially after they've been flooded out time and time again," said Coalition Coordinator Braylon Harris.
Since late May, nearly 2,600 volunteers have assisted in 158 different locations around Southwest Louisiana. These volunteers spent the summer mucking out homes and businesses, cleaning debris, repairing drywall, and replacing floors and other interior finishes. In addition, SWLA Responds has partnered with 39 organizations in their collaborative effort to restore their community. These organizations include Samaritan's Purse, Eight Days of Hope, SBP, Americorps, United Way, and Catholic Charities.
Even after all of the incredible progress made by volunteers and SWLA Responds, there is still much work to be done. They currently have 109 May floods and 339 Hurricane Laura & Delta victims that still need their help. Are you willing to respond to these nearly 500 homes waiting for assistance? Sign up today to help SWLA Responds and the southwest Louisiana communities by visiting www.SWLARepsonds.org.