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8-23-16 ACS Update on Louisiana Flood Recovery
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8-23-16 UPDATE:

 
Earlier this week, ACS warehouse manager John H. Veldhuizen of Blairsville, Ga., unloads a stack of pallets.
Photo by Stephen Ruf
 

Adventist Community Services (ACS) shares this report.

The Louisiana Flood is being referred to as a 1,000 year flood and more than 100,000 residents have registered with FEMA. Many local church members have been affected, some losing everything; several churches have sustained water damage. Churches in both Southwest Region and ArkLa Conferences housed and fed members, and many flood survivors have since been able to make other living arrangements. Three Texas churches held a quick food drive to support some of the Louisiana churches feeding survivors.
 
Southwest Region Conference ACS is mucking out some homes and distributing water, diapers, cleaning supplies, clothing, and food from the Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church in Baton Rouge. ArkLa Conference ACS brought their mobile unit with personal care kits and blankets to help with the distribution. Additional items are being collected in various locations to ensure continued distribution from this center.
 
ArkLa Conference ACS has signed a contract with the State of Louisiana to manage two small warehouses to accept undesignated donated goods. These items will be sorted, inventoried, stored, and shipped out to authorized distribution centers to help the survivors return to somewhat normal living conditions.  Housing for volunteers is still a need.

W. Derrick Lea, NAD ACS Disaster Response director, says, "This work is an example of some of the resources ACS is able to bring to any disaster and the cumulative effort of both conferences shows how much more we can do together."


8-31-16 UPDATE:

 
Sedrick Jenkins (left), an AmeriCorps volunteer from Tampa, Fla., Keith Hofmann, Fairhope United Methodist Church member, and Carlos Perez, an AmeriCorps volunteer from Atlanta, Ga., unload the truck of supplies Hofmann delivered from Alabama. 
Photo by Stephen Ruf

 
 

Early on August 28, ACS continued its recovery efforts at the warehouse in Baton Rouge, taking in supplies from around the region and distributing them appropriately. A letter from the State of Louisiana was sent to all the public and non-governmental organizations, informing them about the ACS-operated warehouse. The letter also offers guidance on donated goods.

"We believe the push from the state will lead to a continual increase in the amount of goods received at the facility run by our team for the community affected," says W. Derrick Lea.
 
In addition to the ACS members, they were also able to negotiate an agreement with the federal government to use VISTA workers at the warehouse. This group is made up of young people from around the country who volunteer their services for as many as 12 months. Ten of these workers who have worked in partnership with our ACS staff and volunteers to help transform two empty buildings into functional warehouses will serve Louisiana for many months. On the same day, a six-member team of ACS workers from Nashville, Tennessee, arrived. This group has partnered with the Southwest Regional Conference and has agreed to use their skills, equipment, and abilities to clean homes in the Baton Rouge area.

Donated goods for flood victims are pouring into the Adventist Community Services Warehouse in Baton Rouge; and collaborative efforts have been underway with both Adventist and non-Adventist groups.

Keith Hoffman from the Fairhope, Alabama. United Methodist Church arrived today with a Penske truck full of 10,000 pounds of cleaning supplies, bleach, and water. Hofmann said his church served as a collection point and when the truck was full he volunteered to make the four-hour drive to Louisiana. A dozen AmeriCorps volunteers helped unload the vehicle including 216 “flood buckets,” a compact kit of cleaning supplies in high demand here in flood-ravaged neighborhoods. 

In addition to the work at the warehouse, ACS continues its shelter and distribution center operation on Osborne Avenue in Baton Rouge. ACS is providing meals, cots, and even entertainment for the children. Southwest Regional Conference is providing this service through their ACS director Durandel Ford. Says Lea, "The commitment shown by such people whose homes had not been affected was humbling and truly showed the spirit that Christ asks of us."

— Click here to read the original Aug. 17, 2016, report; Sherry Watts, W. Derrick Lea, and Stephen Ruf contributed to this update. Watch a video report on the warehouse efforts by ACS in Louisiana; and another on volunteer workers mucking out homes in Denham.

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