JENNINGS — Volunteers from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Texas Baptist Men disaster relief team are lending a helping hand in the aftermath of Hurricanes Laura and Delta in Jeff Davis Parish and surrounding areas.
More than 50 volunteers from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi have been volunteering in the area to help cut away trees, place tarps on damaged roofs and clean up homes damaged by the storms. The group has also been offering emotional support for those affected by the storms.
“Their tasks is to volunteer to remove trees and tarp damaged roofs, but more importantly they bring encouragement and comfort to the people,” Pastor Jeff Cook of First Baptist Church of Jennings said. “They are also helping to build a stronger community.”
“There are two rules for living along I-10, either you get hit by a hurricane and need help or you help your neighbors,” Cook said, noting that almost everyone in the church was affected someway between the two hurricanes. “And it’s a great relief to know we have help.”
The Jennings church has been providing the staging area for the group since their arrival more than a week ago.
The group plans to be here until Nov. 7, or as long as needed, according to Incident Commander Dale Moore of Arlington, Texas.
The retired school teacher is among the many volunteers responding to the more than 140 requests for help from Jennings to Iowa. Teams are also working in Lake Charles, Moss Bluff, DeRidder and surrounding areas. “So many times we are the first ray of hope for people,” Moore said, noting that many residents don’t have the financial means or help to recover from a storm.
He said it is gratifying for the group to help others and to know that they are doing what they can to assist those who need a helping hand.
Jennings resident Terry Simon was grateful as he watched the volunteers remove a large tree from his yard. “They are God sent,” Simon said. “It has been a nightmare for me. I stayed through two hurricanes and the trees all fell in the back.”
Persons needing assistance may submit a work order request by calling the church at 824-3271.