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Extending A Hand to Louisiana


November 20, 2020

By Scott Burdin, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator

Seeing a street lined with refrigerators is always surprising the first time you notice it.

Our Disaster Response team deployed to Louisiana early Oct. 27 from La Croix UMC. Members included myself, three La Croix members and one McKendree member. When we arrived in Louisiana, we were greeted by the community and briefed on where we would serve.

As we worked through the jobs (working the first morning in the rain as an aftermath of hurricane Zeta), we received guidance from Bob Deich, Louisiana Conference Emergency Response Team Coordinator and Ken Finldey, a Louisiana Conference District Disaster Response Coordinator from one of the areas we worked jobs in.

While we drove to our various jobs, homeowners had begun the process of removing ruined appliances. One of the biggest being their refrigerators, which after being unplugged for weeks and left as they sheltered from the hurricane, were now unsafe to open from the spoiled contents and soaked power cords. They were all lined up against the curb, waiting for pickup.

The way these trips usually work is we take direction from a few point people who give us jobs, then we go to those sites and complete the jobs. But the great thing about working in these communities is a domino effect that seems to happen once folks realize they can approach us and ask for help, even if they’re complete strangers.

Freddy Holmes was one of the homeowners who needed help clearing trees from his yard. The Holmes family had a couple trees uprooted from the hurricane and landed in random places across his property, as well as most of his privacy fence destroyed.

As we were wrapping up at Freddy’s, he mentioned that he had two neighbors who needed help taking care of their trees and asked if we would be willing to stick around and help them. He also asked us about taking a look at his home church and if we were willing to help clear the church property. We were more than happy to help out both the neighbors as well as the church. As we finished clearing around the church, a neighbor came up to us and asked us for help at his house.

All of that to say, it’s truly a blessing seeing first-hand how God presents us with opportunities to support families and neighborhoods during what is a very stressful time for those communities. In total, we served 15 homes, one UMC church and one CME church.

We were happy to go and assist our fellow Conference in Louisiana and we plan on continuing to assist whenever possible. In addition to your prayers, if you feel called to donate you can do so at www.secure.anedot.com/laconference-of-the-umc/relief.

For updates on ERT training and other Disaster Response content, follow our Facebook page @umcdisaster and visit our website, umcdisaster.org.