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Hurricane Laura relief efforts continue; Online assistance options available amid COVID concerns

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BATON ROUGE - The devastating damage of Hurricane Laura is bringing the people of Louisiana together for storm recovery yet again.

Assisting with hurricane recovery comes at a time of remaining socially distant due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although many are staying home and avoiding social interaction, some are finding safe ways to help.

Distribution sites and donation programs are popping up across the state, but Bishop Michael Duca of the Diocese of Baton Rouge says that with their new, online giving portal, you can help from home.

"We know how long it takes to recover for some people, so we wanted to mobilize everyone right now for the immediate needs," Bishop Duca said.

The virtual, financial donation service is through the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge, but funds go beyond the church. Several other parishes and organizations are part of the fundraising in an effort to provide victims with whatever they may need.

"The help will go not just to Catholic communities, it will have more of a broader reach as well," Duca said.

The first donation will go straight to victims in Lake Charles. The Bishop says they are ready to respond with initial needs, including food, water, even shelter, but are prepared for long-term assistance. As needs become more specific, they plan to help with those as well.

"Everyone involved in this kind of relief knows the pitfalls and what might happen, so they're planning for a long-term response. Because we know people from the flood that are still recovering, so this is a long-term response," Duca said.

Responding to those needs continues and fundraising is just one of many ways to help.

Many have already donated their time, goods, or services, so opportunities to help are simply expanding.

The Diocese of Baton Rouge, among all other parishes of the Diocese, will also collect food and supplies on September 5 and 6. These contributions will be offered to the Diocese of Lake Charles, and others if needed. 

The Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Ascension Parish will collect supplies for impacted areas beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 2 through Friday, Sept. 4 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The site is located at 9039 S St. Landry Ave. in Gonzales, LA 70737. Donations can be dropped off at Barns 7 and 8.

Over the weekend, volunteers and LSU football players spent their Saturday unloading supplies and food at The Healing Place Church in East Baton Rouge. Members of the church teamed up with The Cajun Navy and other churches in Lake Charles to host a donation site and plan to continue these efforts on Monday, Aug. 31 through Friday, Sept. 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Healing Place Church is located at 19202 Highland Rd. in Baton Rouge, LA 70809.

Members and volunteers at Christ's Community Church in Livingston Parish loaded trailers full of supplies Sunday evening and plan to leave with those items on Monday. The church is located at 26574 Juban Rd. in Denham Springs, LA 70726. You can also donate online by clicking here.


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