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SWFL church responds to Louisiana community after hurricane

Writer: Jack Lowenstein

Large damage remains in small communities after a hurricane ripped through.

Volunteers with Grace Church in Southwest Florida were in Luling, Louisiana Thursday helping neighbors who are still living in the dark two weeks after Hurricane Ida devastated the area.

“We have brought our entire U-Haul here full of supplies, and this little tiny church is just reaching out as best as they can,” said pastor Heather Evans with Grace Church.

Ida destroyed homes and knocked out power. Seeing the destruction prompted Evans and other church members to step up. They collected donations and made the trip.

Those supplies are helping to breathe new life into a small town and their small partner church, New Life Community.

“From 10 to 2, people can come in and shop for supplies,” Evans said. “From 3 to 6, they’re feeding hot meals to the public, and they’re feeding the linemen as well.”

Evans told us some places finally have the lights back on, but there is still so much misery.

“We’re seeing holes in the side of homes, a lot of roof damage, a lot of sheet metal all over the place, just enormous old oak trees turned over with the roots on their side,” Evans said.

Evans’ faith is strong and is the faith of those hoping to rebuild their lives in Luling.

“We are staffed almost 24 hours right now to keep it going,” said Melanie Fontenot with New life Community Church. “Louisiana is strong, and St. Charles Parish is strong, and we’re gonna come back, and we’re going to stay.

Grace church volunteers will head back to Florida Sunday, but members are still taking donations because they plan to go back soon. They told us they particularly need cleaning supplies and diapers.