Tornado victims starting over a week before Christmas; volunteers lending a helping hand
BATON ROUGE - Members of the United Cajun Navy loaded an 18-wheeler with heaters, blankets, tarps and other items Friday before heading out to Gretna and New Iberia — two locations where thousands of people are starting over after tornadoes ripped through their homes Wednesday.
"A lot of kids lost their Christmas presents. That's a big problem," Todd Terrell, president of the United Cajun Navy, said.
Families are forced to start over with Christmas only nine days away.
Terrell says his group is now scrambling to help make sure the families get the holiday they deserve. While they want to give children toys, he says the best thing to give is a gift card.
Also responding to the area is the Red Cross, which is in dire need of volunteers.
"Each of these cases that we are talking about — that's a family. We want to provide good one-on-one case management service for each of those people. That's a lot of people to do that, so yeah, we need help," Ed Bush, the executive director for the Red Cross Louisiana Capital-West Chapter, said.
Both organizations say it's that time of year when many people just aren't available to help.
"For most of us, our plans remain unchanged, but for some of us who were hit by this, their plans have been completely flipped upside down," Bush said.
Bush says the Red Cross is asking for monetary donations, while Terrell says the Cajun Navy needs a couple more enclosed trailers to haul supplies.
"If you were affected by a storm, it's going to cost you money, or a job, or work, something. So if it doesn't affect you, give. Give to somebody. Give to a non-profit, give to an individual. That's what it is all about nowadays — people helping people," Terrell said.
You can also make donations through United Way.
The National Weather service have confirmed six of the reported tornadoes so far. The affected locations include:
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