Devastation has swept through the southern portion of Louisiana over the last month, as flood waters have led to deaths and major destruction across the area. Despite evacuations being dispersed among the residents, several Sampson County men left Thursday morning on the 14-hour journey into the damage.
Norman McPhail, Woodrow Smith and Bruce Butler gathered Wednesday afternoon to finalize money spent to purchase non-perishable food items, hygiene items and power tool equipment. The three men, who are part of the Christian Food Bank of Salemburg, drove to Louisiana, carrying 150 food boxes, 100 hygiene boxes, one up-right freezer, two microwaves and thousands of dollars in power tools to assist the residents who were affected by the heavy rains.
“When you think about the two greatest commandments and loving others like you love yourself, it’s easy to understand why we are doing what we are doing,” McPhail said. “We enjoy doing this and helping those who need the help.”
The Christian Food Bank has been distributing food for the last seven years. Once a month, McPhail said the food bank distributes food to needy families. More than 400 families have been helped through donations made from the community.
“The people around here are good people,” McPhail explained. “We never have a problem getting people to give us a donation.”
Following the flooding situation in Louisiana, McPhail said he and other volunteers with the food bank decided they wanted to do something to help the residents of the area. After searching for ways to help, McPhail said they came across a church in Louisiana who is spearheading collection efforts for those in need.
What started as a wish list for the church led to the four truck loads of supplies that were delivered Thursday night.
Food boxes contained things like boxes of macaroni and cheese, rice, beans, peanut butter, jelly, breakfast bars, canned soup and vegetables and canned meats. Hygiene boxes included items like soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrush, comb, sanitary items, toilet paper and washcloths.
When the food bank began their efforts to collect funds to purchase the food and hygiene items, McPhail said they set a budget of $7,500. When everything was counted, more than $12,000 was raised. So, the men went out and purchased over $3,000 in power tools that will be used in the rebuilding efforts of the flooded areas.
“We knew the people in this area were giving and all about people receiving,” McPhail said. “It didn’t surprise us that we were able to get as much as we did.”
While in Louisiana, McPhail said they will survey the area and determine what further needs residents may have. Efforts to help those affected by the floods won’t stop, McPhail said the food bank plans to continue collecting items and helping in any way they can.
“There have been numerous people who have given or helped in some way,” McPhail said. “You can count on this community.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.