Hope Force
In times of crisis, a timeless quote from the late Fred Rogers tends to emerge again and again: "Look for the helpers."
In Jennings, the help has been tenfold since Hurricane Laura devastated Southwest Louisiana. 
"Since the hurricane, we have been overwhelmed at the amount of monetary donations and items given to our church so that we can help the ones who have suffered loss from Hurricane Laura," said Jennings Church of Christ member Lisa Trahan. 
Trahan said the day the hurricane hit, Hope Force International -- headquartered in Brentwood, Tenn. -- reached out to the church. She said their mission is "to meet the needs of people" by using "the two hands of the Gospel working together."
"Basically, they do anything from tarping homes to muck out work to hauling debris out of homes and, more importantly, they offer emotional and spiritual care to those who need it," Trahan said. "They will be based at our church as long as there is a need, have volunteers and have the funding."
Trahan said the group is self-sufficient, except for housing.
"They bring their own bedding, toiletries, cooking supplies and food, and a chaplain," Trahan said.
A nonprofit group, Hope Force International is funded primarily by the donations of others. Trahan said the group will likely stay in town through October. 
They're not the only ones to reach out.
Trahan said within the first week after Hurricane Laura hit Southwest Louisiana, West Houston Church of Christ delivered a truck full of supplies and $13,000 that had been collected from their congregation. 
"And that's just one church," Trahan said. "The Denham Springs Church of Christ contacted me a couple of days after Laura and asked what the needs were. I gave them a list that was given to me and two days later they showed up at the distribution center with a huge truckload of supplies."
The Monday after the storm, Trahan said the church's distribution center was "desperately looking for tarps."
"I called our friends in Shreveport and asked them if they knew of any store that had some tarps that I could drive up there to go buy."
She said her friend called her back 15 minutes later and said she had ordered 100 20 feet-by-30 feet tarps. 
"I told her that I didn't mean for her to buy them and she said, 'I know but we wanted to. We'll let our church know and if they want to help, they can donate to the cost and if they can't, that's OK,' " Trahan said. "Their church, Univeristy Church of Christ in Shreveport, has now given over $5,000 for the outlying areas of Lake Charles."
Trahan said R360 Environmental Solutions has donated food and supplies to their church, as well.
"They brought a ton of frozen meats, breakfast foods, paper goods, can goods and even gave us a freezer to store everything in," she said. "Without hesitation, R360 Environmental Solutions wanted the goods to be used for relief workers and victims."
She said the church has also received supplies and donations from Fourth Avenue Church of Christ in Franklin, Tenn.; Westview Christian Church of Shreveport; Forest Grove Christian Church of Rockdale, Texas; Monetary Christian Church of Monetery; Longview Christian Church of Longview, Texas; and First Church of Christ in Jennings. 
"The Lord is good all the time and He works in the hearts of His people," Trahan said. "And when we allow ourselves to be vessels for Him, He moves in ways the mortal soul cannot."
She said 2020 has been a "crazy year" but God has "every so gently reminded us He's still in control, He is still on his throne and His love endures forever. He never changes and He'll never forsake us. God is moving in Louisiana."

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