Much of July and August has been spent in preparation for this fall’s coalition project and the return of our Amish volunteers. We are preparing to build 6 new homes and complete as many as 70 repairs.
Apart from the coalition, this quarter, the Fuller Center Disaster Rebuilders posted the following highlights:
o 4 seniors
o 6 children
o 4 individuals with disabilities
o 2 veterans
This quarter leads up to the 2nd anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Laura and the onslaught of 3 other FEMA declared major disasters, in Southwest Louisiana. Still hundreds are displaced from their homes. Unrepaired homes are being ravaged by rot, mold, gravity, and vegetation. Even some homes repaired after Laura, were damaged again by Hurricane Delta, then again by Winter Storm Uri and in some cases for a 4th time by the May 2021 flood. Many of the non-profits, corporations, and agencies that responded immediately after the devastation, have gone now. Much of the relief funding has dried up. Fuller Center Disaster Rebuilders and a few others are standing squarely in the gap. We are helping as many as possible with the remaining volunteer base and funding. We are also in the process of launching a Fuller Center for Housing covenant partner to carry on the work in Southwest Louisiana well into the future.
One of our older, veteran, homeowners said that he began to think “God had abandoned him”. Until the day FCDR staff and volunteers began to work on his home, he was losing all hope. Many had said they would help, never to be see or heard from again. With serious medical conditions and unable to stand for walk for any significant period, he was unable to make repairs himself and had no funds to pay others to help him. He was living in a home with wet, moldy carpet, wet drooping ceilings, damaged roofs, and missing wood siding. Today his home is repaired, safe, sanitary, and secure. His new roof is Fortified certified. His carpet is replaced with vinyl plank flooring that accommodates his unsteady gait. His bathroom now has a safe walk-in shower with grab bars. New sheetrock on his ceiling and walls has been painted. After returning home, one group of volunteers worried about him having trouble getting out of his recliner. They collected funds and bought him a new lift chair. His home isn’t new, but he will be able to live independently in his home for years to come. And he thinks that is better than “new”.
Working in partnership with the Lousiana Conference of the United Methodist Church and Mennonite Disaster Services (MDS), we completely rebuilt 46 houses this quarter. MDS deployed an amazing group of volunteers from Disaster Aid Ohio from January through the end of March. In the spirit of partnership, we also incorporated SWLA Responds and The Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana. We were able to reach homes throughout Calcasieu Parish including DeQuincy, Lake Charles, and Sulphur. Approximately one-half of these were major repairs and the other half were remove and replacement of the roof. This partnership was such a grand success that we'll repeat the rebuild this fall.
We're excited to announce that the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church, Mennonite Disaster Services and Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders (FCDR) are partnering to rebuild 35 homes in the next three months. In addition, for a little "icing on the cake", the coalition will reroof 15 homes. In parallel, FCDR will continue its volunteer driven rebuilding effort completing another 15 homes.
You might be thinking that a year and a half after the storm and there are still homes with blue tarps. Well you're right--that is a pretty dismal admission since these tarps have definitely excited their useful life and are leaking. That means we're still getting water inside the homes and mold is growing.
We need your financial support to rebuild more homes and your volunteer labor to make it happen.
In the last 12 months, Lake Charles has been the victime of four federally declared major disasters. And, of course, we continue to operate under the COVID-19 cloud that has dramatically diminished our flow of volunteers.
Thankfully Hurricane Ida heavily damaged areas east of us, so we've been able to carry on much needed rebuilding.
Our lease is ending on our primary volunteer housing facility, but we were blessed to find a another church willing to house our volunteers. So we now have even better volunteer housing, so come on down!
And I shouldn't fail to mention that we have almost unlimited RV hook-ups available. With hurricane season sliding behind us, we have perfect weather for you!
We have been working diligently to help the families in Southwest Louisiana recovery from this past hurricane season. We are now over 6 months out since the last hurricane and there are still so many families unable to recover on their own. We have been blessed to start to see a rise in volunteer teams as more people become comfortable again during this national pandemic, but we still need your financial assistance.
As volunteers become more available we must stretch every dollar as much as possible in our attempt to help as many people as we are able. With the rise of building material cost and national shortages, we are in need of your financial support now more than ever.
If you are able, we pledge to stretch every dollar given as far as possible to help as many as we can, so please help and please give!
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