This past week, Hurricane Laura wreaked havoc for families, businesses, and farmers in Louisiana and Texas. Laura made landfall as a Category 4 with 150 mph winds — activity like that has not hit Louisiana since 1856. Before the hurricane even hit, residents of both Texas and Louisiana knew they were in for a historic storm.
According to ABC News, 16 people have died as a result of Hurricane Laura. While many deaths have been attributed to fallen trees and carbon monoxide, it is a reminder of how much these communities have lost. By Thursday evening, nearly a million homes and businesses were without power between the states of Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi, according to poweroutage.us.
Not only do residents face weeks without power or water, the winds were also strong enough to push a train off its tracks in Cameron Parish in Louisiana. In Grand Lake, a mile-long stretch of freight cars were laying on their sides, according to The Weather Channel.
Before Hurricane Laura struck, the Louisiana FFA Association shared a message of hope and togetherness on its Facebook page. The message stated, “We are #OneLAFFA. This will mean so much over the coming days as our state endures another great challenge. For those of you in the path of Hurricane Laura, please stay safe and know that all of Louisiana FFA is praying for you, your families, and your communities. Once the storm has passed, we will work together to rebuild stronger than before. Louisiana is our home, and we will overcome. #onelaffa #laffa #louisianaffa.”
Many residents were told to evacuate before the storm made landfall. However, due to special circumstances and the pandemic, not everyone was able to evacuate or felt comfortable seeking shelter surrounded by others. Whether they were able to evacuate or not, everyone is left to clean up the mess.
Now, it is time to get to work. The Louisiana FFA Association immediately rounded up the needs of their community and their chapters. On its disaster relief website, the Louisiana FFA Association has outlined the areas in their communities that need help and resources. Not only does this help those chapters in need, but it also allows for those outside to the community to help in any way they can.
The first and easiest way to help is by sending pre-loaded debit cards of any value to be used immediately. They can be mailed to: Louisiana FFA Foundation, 244 John M Parker Coliseum, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.
To send supplies, contact ag teachers directly (click here to see the Louisiana ag teacher directory) or send them to the Louisiana FFA office at 244 John M Parker Coliseum, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.
The Louisiana FFA Association has also contacted the chapters hit hardest by Hurricane Laura to see their needs. Click on the chapters below to see what they need specifically.
- Florien (Sabine Parish)
- Lacassine (Jefferson Davis Parish)
- Natchitoches Central (Natchitoches Parish)
- Reeves (Allen Parish)
- Sam Houston (Calcasieu Parish)
- Sulphur (Calcasieu Parish)
- Vinton (Calcasieu Parish)
- Westlake (Calcasieu Parish)
- Winnfield (Winn Parish)
Many of these chapters request manpower, financial support, food, toiletries, hay, cleaning products, and classroom supplies. In addition to manpower and supplies, the State of Louisiana is running low on gasoline for generators. Anyone who can shuttle in fuel is much appreciated.
At this time, the Texas FFA Association has not released any chapters needing direct help.
In a time of need, the National FFA Organization and its members always step up. They bring a positive light wherever they go and will be a helping hand in their community. While Texas and Louisiana communities clean up, the FFA community from across the country can help. Please consider helping the Louisiana FFA Association and its chapters in any way possible.