Hurricane preparedness distribution scheduled for August 29

Published 4:03 pm Saturday, August 26, 2023

LAPLACE — In recognition of the second anniversary of Hurricane Ida, the New Wine Development Corporation and community partners will distribute food, water and hurricane preparedness kits to St. John the Baptist Parish residents from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29.

The distribution will be held in the New Wine Christian Fellowship parking lot, 1921 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace. Volunteers are still needed.

Community partners assisting in this effort include Operation Blessing, Good 360, Marathon Petroleum, Denka Performance Elastomer, St. John United Way, and CRC Global Solutions. St. John Parish President Jaclyn Hotard, Sheriff Mike Tregre, and other elected officials are invited.

Residents will receive five-gallon pails with hurricane supplies such as flash lights, safety gear, sanitizer and household goods.

The St. John Long Term Recovery Group has been active since the storm. Over the past 24 months, more than 5,000 volunteers from 42 states and six countries have arrived in St. John Parish to repair more than 300 homes in the community.

United Way provided a grant to help fund the continuation of Long Term Recovery efforts, including the purchase of building materials and hiring construction workers.

“As you move further away from the disaster, volunteer groups begin to wane,” said Pastor Neil Bernard, chairman of the St. John Long Term Recovery Group. “At the end of March (2023), when most the volunteers had left, we activated our own construction team that works Monday through Friday in homes that still have not been repaired. Since then, we have completed work on 41 homes, and we have about two dozen in the queue.”

Catholic Charities, the disaster case manager for the Long Term Recovery Group, is still accepting applications from uninsured and underinsured homeowners. Approximately 400 homeowners in St. John Parish are on the list, and many may qualify to receive funding through Louisiana Restore.

“Two years out, we would say 90% to 95% of our community has recovered. That’s the good news, but we still have many homeowners who haven’t recovered. This event was traumatic for many of our citizens, so we thought it would be nice to give back to the community on the second anniversary of Hurricane Ida,” Bernard said. “We feel compelled to obey Jesus’ command. He said when I was hungry, you fed me. When I was thirsty, you gave me some water. When I was a stranger, you took me in. What you do unto least of these, you do unto me. At New Wine, we are committed to being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.”

For more information or to volunteer for the August 29 supply distribution, call 985-653-0008 or email admin@newwinelaplace.org.