People from all across the diocese are working to gut and clean the estimated 146,000 houses damaged in the flooding that occurred early this month in southeast Louisiana. Of the 64 parishes in Louisiana, 20 have a disaster declaration. The cleanup is a big project but many hands are coming together to help, including our own Episcopal churches. Our diocese is partnering with Episcopal Relief & Development to address ongoing needs.
Changes in Flood Relief Coordinator
The Very Rev. Dr. Roman Roldan is now serving as the Diocesan Flood Response Coordinator. Contact him at email@example.com to coordinate volunteers with the needs of the community in the flood-affected area. Even if you are not coordinating work through the Episcopal Diocese, we ask that you inform us of your work so we can track our response for any future granting opportunities.
We have just received an additional $20,000 Emergency Assistance Grant from Episcopal Relief and Development. This money will be used to provide assistance to the most vulnerable families and individuals in the flood-affected areas who are in need of rental assistance, motel costs, food, utility payments. It will also assist students at LSU who have lost stipends and housing. This second Emergency Grant (again for twice the usual maximum of $10,000) is to give us time to begin long term recovery and assess needs so that we may write a longer term grant to help us on our way forward.
Update on St. Francis, Episcopal School of Baton Rouge,and St. Patrick’s
St. Francis, Denham Springs, has been gutted, cleaned and is in the process of being dried out. The congregation has worshiped in their parking lot for the past two Sundays.
The school year has begun at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge. The lower school classes are being held in the VPAC building. They will return to their own classrooms soon. The athletic department will take some time to recover. The school has issued regular updates. You can read those here.
It was reported that St. Patrick’s, Zachary, came within inches of flooding within the building. A recent inspection showed some damage.
All information about volunteering with Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana to clean flooded houses can be found here: www.edola.org/flood-relief/volunteers.
Local Volunteers: Volunteer teams are forming all across the diocese to clean up flooded homes. We encourage those who want to volunteer to first contact their church to determine if a team is being formed.
We do have an online local volunteer registration form here where individuals, who are not part of a team, can register to volunteer with the Flood Relief Coordinator.
Team organizers are encouraged to fill out this same form on behalf of the entire team. That would be one form per team for each day your team is wanting to volunteer. We would not need a form for each individual. We do, however, need volunteer agreement forms for each person on your team.
Out-of-State Volunteer Teams: We are now accepting out-of-state volunteers. Coordination is being managed by our Diocesan Flood Response Coordinator. You can find an online out-of-state volunteer team registration form here. Information about volunteer housing can be found here:
The Work of Our Churches
Last week, Bishop Thompson issued the following statement regarding the work of our churches: “First of all, I want to extend my deepest thanks for the ministry that you continue to provide to the survivors of the recent floods. As your bishop, I am so grateful to walk through this time with you as we do our best to meet the needs of those who have lost so much.
The leadership and dedication that you provide as clergy and laity is a beacon of hope in the midst of a difficult time. You are truly the hands of feet of Christ to those whom you serve.”
A look at what our churches have been doing to provide flood relief:
- Feeding people in flood affected areas
- Mucking out and gutting flooded homes
- Collecting food to replenishing flooded food banks
- Fundraising for flood recovery
- Pastoral care to flood survivors
- Distributing gift cards
- Distributing cleaning supplies and food to police officers and others in the community