Here is the news from Baton Rouge as of 9/11
Yesterday, our entire team went to Plaquemine Civic Center. Our census is beginning to go down as we sent 20 people on a bus to Texas. It is so exciting to see these people pack up what little they have, clean up their areas, and line up for the bus. This shelter has been a safe haven for so many over the past couple of weeks, and as they move on, they face a life a uncertainty and new beginnings.
Our day was spent in ministry to this community. We played with the children, talked with the parents, and took care of medical needs. We have treated several wounds from the storm, but infectious disease has been kept at bay. We have been blessed with two wonderful doctors – Dr. Jack (from MN) and Doctor J (from NY). These two men came to help completely on their own, and will be staying at the center through the end of the week.
Today we will be going to Plaquemine for our last day. Our after school tutoring center opens this afternoon on the stage. Many volunteers have worked to clean, arrange, and stock the center with supplies for the children. Today, we are arranging volunteers to come in to tutor and read with these children. Some in our group will be going to other shelters much less fortunate that our run by churches. We have learned a lot about “bureaucracy” during this trip, and have seen firsthand, that not everyone has access to the same services. Continue to pray for all of these victims to get the help and support they need.
The Red Cross is now moving into the “transition phase” of caring for these people. Their lives are returning to whatever “normal” is going to be for them. Now that their immediate needs (food, housing, clothing, and medicine) have been met, it is time for them to transition into becoming self sufficient once again.
Most of the 9/7 group will be homeward bound for Northern Illinois this week. Donna, Sue, and Mary departed yesterday, as Donna hurt her leg. More groups are beginning to join our team, and we are now represented by volunteers from South Dakota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Virginia. We are not all working in the same areas, so we don’t have as many updates about the other locations. We do know that a lot of tear down and rebuilding has been done, and that are workers have worked tirelessly to help this area. We have become our own “family” down here, and leaving will be difficult. Please pray for all of our team members for safe travel and emotional well being as we also begin to transition back to our “regular” lives.
A huge thank you for all of your donations, support, and prayers. A very special thank you to the Sunday School Classes of Trinity Lutheran Church for the wonderful home cooked (southern style of course) meal last night! Thanks Trinity! This church has taken on a monumental task of caring for the volunteers, as well as volunteering in the relief efforts themselves. Please keep them in your prayers as they continue to serve in the days to come. Lynn