Ashley HomeStore donations helping local families refurnish homes
Annie Warren said she was surprised and delighted upon receiving a $3,000 gift card from Ashley HomeStore Tuesday. The contribution will help pay to furnish her home in the Sunset Acres neighborhood, which was gutted after Hurricane Laura’s landfall last August and later took in roughly 14 inches of water during the May 17 flood.
Twelve families received the gift cards during a ceremony at Trinity Baptist Church. Brittany Stone, community engagement specialist for Ashley HomeStore, said $3,000 can pay for an entire household’s worth of new furniture.
“We want to make sure these folks don’t come in feeling like they have only bits and pieces,” she said. “We wanted to give them that feeling that the home is complete.”
Brittany Gobert’s home near Cusic Street in Lake Charles took in more than a foot of water May 17. She and her 4-year-old daughter, Kaelani, have been staying at her parent’s home ever since.
“This is a big blessing,” Gobert said of the donation. “We just had to recently throw out everything.”
Gobert said she might return home in roughly two months. She is waiting for walls to be sheetrocked and for carpet to be replaced. She said she is looking forward to having beds for her and Kaelani, as well as new couches.
Gift card recipients can pick out their furniture, Stone said.
“Something that’s so fun about having a home is feeling comfortable and liking the furniture you have,” she said. “We wanted folks to be able to go in and pick something out that they’re going to hopefully love for generations to come.”
Warren, 87, said she stayed in Mandeville for two months after Hurricane Laura, then stayed with a friend in Iowa, La. The stress of the May flood sent her to the hospital, she said.
Warren said her friends in Arkansas want her to leave Lake Charles, but she is choosing to stay.
“This is my home,” she said. “I don’t have much time on this Earth, and I’d like to be there in my house as long as I can.”
Ashley HomeStore’s location on La. 14 in Lake Charles recently reopened. Like many homes and businesses in the area, it took months to acquire rebuilding materials, Stone said. Since reopening, the store has focused on markets, like Lake Charles, that need supplies the most.
The gift cards don’t expire, and recipients don’t have to spend the entire amount all at once, Stone said. The cards can be used at the Lake Charles store or a new outlet location in Baton Rouge.
Trinity Baptist Church helped Ashley HomeStore in choosing which families received the donation, Stone said.
Brittany Stone, community engagement specialist for Ashley HomeFurniture, presents Annie Warren with a $3,000 gift certificate during a luncheon Tuesday at Trinity Baptist Church.