Posted on

Cleanup in the wake of Hurricane Laura

Laura, Christian Aid Ministries

On August 27, 2020, Hurricane Laura made its landfall as a category 4 storm, creating major destruction along the coast of Louisiana. More than 8,000 homes were severely damaged or destroyed, leaving thousands of people homeless. CAM immediately sent Rapid Response team members to Louisiana to assess the damage and to see what we could do to help.

Volunteers from conservative Anabaptist churches throughout the U.S. are the backbone of Rapid Response work. They came from all over the U.S. to help with the project in Louisiana. “I am a widow, I live alone, I have no children,” said an elderly widow who was helped. “This is such a blessing . . . I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.”

Wind speeds up to 150 miles per hour hurled fully-grown trees on peoples’ homes, cars, and businesses.

Hurricane Laura project pictures

Power lines were mangled, leaving more than 400,000 without electricity.
Hurricane Laura damaged roofs and then brought a deluge of rain. Here, volunteers clean up insulation and debris.
Dorothy said she and her late husband built this house. “I stained every piece of trim,” she shared. Although branches came through nearly every room of her home, she is thankful that her dish collection and quilts were salvageable.
CAM’s Rapid Response teams responded within a few days, cutting up and removing fallen trees.
Rapid Response volunteers repair a roof in Westlake, Louisiana.
Homeowners watched in awe as hardworking volunteers cleaned up the devastating mess.

Another hurricane hits

Just six weeks after Hurricane Laura, another major storm, Hurricane Delta, hit this same area of Louisiana and created yet another setback for the people in this area.

Our staff and volunteers temporarily evacuated Westlake and waited out the storm. After Delta passed through, they returned to find yet more damage. The wind had ripped tarps off roofs. Rain had once once again soaked the interiors of houses with damaged roofs. Some homeowners we had done cleanup for received more damage.

Our goal, with God’s help, is the be the hands and feet of Jesus during this time of difficulty in Louisiana.

Loaves & Fishes Food Kitchen

Immediately after Hurricane Laura, the Loaves and Fishes food kitchen, operated by the New Order Amish, set up in Westlake, Louisiana. They served food to those who had lost their homes and to volunteers doing cleanup. A good, hot meal is truly a touch of love and compassion in the midst of destruction. The kitchen serves as an oasis from the feelings of hopelessness many homeowners face.

After weeks of serving meals, the Loaves & Fishes Food Kitchen had just returned home when Hurricane Delta hit the same area of Louisiana. They headed south again, and continue providing hot meals in Westlake as people recover from yet another setback. Up to this point, they have served more than 30,000 meals.

“They would wipe tears from their faces as they walked to their cars with a hot meal and cold water.”

Opportunities to share the love of Jesus

CAM’s Chaplain Ministry works in conjunction with the food kitchen to provide a listening ear, spiritual encouragement, and prayers for those in distress. Following is a report from chaplain John Miller:

I stood by the literature table at the Loaves and Fishes Kitchen where food was being served. The ladies were singing to hundreds of Hurricane Laura victims. Again and again they would break down and cry uncontrollably. As I seized the opportunity to help them, they would ask, “Why do you do this to total strangers? We have nothing to give back to you.” The moment was right to tell them about the love of God that constrains us to ease their trauma. They would wipe tears from their faces as they walked to their cars with a hot meal and cold water.