On Aug. 27-28, 250 volunteers from Conway and North Little Rock congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) drove to the Baton Rouge area to provide cleanup and relief assistance for flood victims. They were responding to a request by church area leaders for volunteers from the Mid-South region to join in the cleanup effort. This contingent joined the more than 4,000 Latter-day Saint volunteers from greater Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee serving in Louisiana over the weekend.
The group from Conway joined forces with the thousands of flood victims and volunteers from various religious faiths, and people who just responded when the need was apparent that their distant neighbors were in need. Operation BBQ Relief provided more than 2,200 unexpected meals to Mormon volunteers in Hammond and another group, wanting to remain anonymous, provided jambalaya to more than 1,800 Mormon volunteers camping and volunteering in Gonzales.
Covington Food Bank, Convoy of Hope, United Way, and the Red Cross helped distribute truckloads of supplies donated from Latter Day Saint Charities in Salt Lake City.
Baton Rouge Mayor Melvin ‘Kip’ Holden remarked, “I’m very grateful you left your homes to come to the great city of Baton Rouge. Look at these numbers! There was no hesitation for you reaching out. You are our family. In a family, the strong help the weak. This shows the hearts you have. It shows the minds you have. It shows the desires you have. We are the recipients of your good will, and we will never forget you!”
The volunteers who were self-sustaining, bringing tools, camping gear, and food assisted 1,400 households, several churches and even the Monterrey Fire Station removing damaged furniture, sheetrock and flooring. Another 5,000 volunteers from the same Mid-South region served in Baton Rouge area on the Labor Day Weekend.