HOUSTON – The view from Hans Stevens’ cellphone showed a street lined with homes drowning in a sea of blue tarps. Tree limbs speckled yards and driveways as the buzz of chainsaws conducted the soundtrack Monday for communities in southwestern Louisiana cleaning up after Hurricane Laura.
“This house, a tree fell on the back and upfront,” Stevens explained, describing a street in Westlake, Louisiana, a city north of Lake Charles in Calcasieu Parish.
Stevens owns Hans Crawfish Services in Cypress but Louisiana runs through his blood.
“My family got devastated by a lot of this stuff. I have family in west lake where I am right now and Sulphur has a lot of roof damage,” Stevens said.
Stevens had planned to be in Louisiana Monday to clean up communities affected by the hurricane. I posted about doing so to his business’ Facebook page.
That got people talking. They wanted to help
“What can we do to help you? I was like whatever y’all want to do to help. You can donate water we can bring it over there and we just had an outpouring,” he said.
A hundred cases of water, baby food, pet food, cleaning supplies, all donated and driven to Louisiana Monday.
Volunteers also cleared trees from yards and streets. For many volunteers from southeastern Texas, doing so was an act of gratitude.
“We wanted to give back to the community. They helped us during Harvey,” Stevens said, noting the help from volunteers from Louisiana during Hurricane Harvey.
Relief from organizations across Texas poured into Louisiana, as donation drives continued to mount.
In Baytown, members of the Lions Club District 2S4 gathered in the Buc-ee’s parking lot on Interstate 10 for a trip to Lake Charles and Sulphur, Louisiana.
“That’s 70 clubs coming from Palacios, going all the way down into Galveston,” Melaine Sweeney said.
Members filled trailers with 5,000 pounds of ice and 300 cases of water. The Lions Club drove the items to both cities, after coordinating with local police departments.
Members said they know first hand about what hurricanes can do — and what those affected need.
“During a hurricane or storm like this, one of the most critical things they need is water and then ice to keep food cold,” Sweeney said.
The Lions Club District 2S4 plans to make another trip to Louisiana within the week.
The Houston Food Bank has sent trucks of water, cleaning supplies, and ready-to-eat food to a Second Harvest Food Bank In Vinton, Louisiana
The food bank said more information about how to help could be found here at https://www.feedingamerica.org/ to help cities most impact.
A faith-based collective also sent trucks of supplies to Louisiana, from Texas. The Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church coordinated the effort, which included 19 area congregations from many denominations.
Organizers looked back on Louisiana’s generosity to Texas, as they filled a box truck with boxes of roofing nails, cases of water, tarp, diapers, baby formula, among other essentials donated over the past four days.
“They were so generous with us after Harvey. We want to return the favor to them. And so we have 19 congregations in this particular effort,” said Godfrey Hubert, director of Texas Congregation of Disaster Readiness.
Kelly Hendricks and Laura Clapp delivered an SUV’s worth of must-haves, items the sisters-in-law purchased Monday after calling on some twenty families, friends of theirs, to donate.
“We collected $1,600 from those twenty families. It was great. I’m glad we were able to do it,” Clapp said.
Hendricks, who lost a home during Hurricane Ike, said it was the least she felt she could do.
“We just know how that feels to just feel kinda helpless. Hopefully, this will bring people some help — some tarp, some water, some baby food.”