Supporting the people of Baton Rouge
“Rain, rain go away. Come again another day.” The familiar nursery rhyme that my mother taught me played in my head as I saw the flood waters rise. It was August 11, and the Baton Rouge that I had grown up in, worked in, and studied in was slowly getting wetter and wetter. I was at McDonald’s that day, working during the flooding, and feeling more and more helpless as the hours ticked by. The people that I loved were losing their homes, and it seemed that there was nothing I could do about it. Over the next few days, my family, along with thousands of other Cajuns, spent time volunteering to help our community. However, even those many man hours could not even put a dent in the work that is needed to rebuild Baton Rouge.
Several questions came out of this time: 1) How can those of us in the community most effectively help those who suffer? 2) How can those of us who leave Louisiana still help to rebuild our community? The answer to both became simple. We simply needed to ask for help; we require your help. Here are some ideas of specific causes and organizations in great need:
Christo Rey High School: A new high school that offers quality education coupled with work-study internships for impoverished students. This high school was completely flooded during the storm, and can use donations to rebuild the school. You can donate at http://www.cristoreybatonrouge.org/.
Together Baton Rouge: Coalition of religious communities to bring about positive change in the community. This organization provides funding to volunteer organizations for the purpose of hiring demolition crews. You can donate at: https://togetherbr.nationbuilder.com/donate.
Habitat for Humanity: An international organization that provides housing for impoverished communities. In Baton Rouge, the work is now centered on demolishing water-logged areas of homes and, occasionally, the entire home. Funding would enable Habitat to hire full-time demolition crews to serve the community. http://www.habitatbr.org/explore.cfm/getinvolved/donate/
Knights of Columbus: A Catholic fraternal service organization. The Louisiana State Council has provided meals and labor to those affected by the flooding. The Notre Dame chapter is dedicating a portion of the profits from their first steak sale to aiding Louisiana. The steak sale will take place at the Knights of Columbus building on Saturday, September 10. For donations directly to the Knights of Columbus, donate at: https://www.kofc.org/en/secure/charities/louisiana-flood- relief.html. To donate through the Notre Dame Knights of Columbus, visit us this Saturday, September 10th on South Quad.
Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank: Food distribution center that provides food items to impoverished families. The Food Bank received large amounts of flooding in their warehouse, and lost much of their inventory. Coupled with the large need for food at this time, this nonprofit is greatly in need. You can donate at: http://brfoodbank.org/donate-now/.
Catholic High School: All-male Catholic high school that provides college preparatory education through the lens of spiritual formation. They have provided labor to those affected in the community and are assisting faculty, staff, and students through donations of finances and clothing.You can donate at: https://3742.thankyou4caring.org/2016floodrelief.
Saint Joseph’s Academy: All-female Catholic high school that provides college preparatory education along with spiritual formation. They have provided clothing and financial donations to members of their school community. You can donate at: https://apply.sjabr.org/advancement/give and specify Louisiana relief.
Red Cross: International relief organization that provides aid to disaster areas. They have been assisting with the housing and feeding of those affected in the community. If you choose to donate, please only send gift cards to major retail stores such as Walmart or Target (not Meijer; there are none in Louisiana). This will ensure that your money goes to the people of Louisiana. You can mail gift cards to: 4655 Sherwood Common Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA 70816.
Christo Rey Franciscan High School: The same week it opened its doors for the first time this year, the school was inundated with water, and many of her students were affected. The mission of the school is to provide a quality Catholic education while also enabling students to succeed in the workplace. Their work-study program helps impoverished students obtain jobs in “white collar” industries so that they might learn tangible skills through their internship. Each student is “drafted” by a company, during a draft pick ceremony that occurred days before the flooding. Draft day is based on the annual drafting ceremony that takes place in professional sporting.
Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge: The diocese provides for the spiritual needs of Catholics in the area. It has been helping families in affected church parishes and schools with funding and some rebuilding efforts. Nearly 25% of diocese staff were affected—especially the janitorial staff who maintain the entire Catholic Life Center, a large facility including two auditoriums, two chapels, a lodging facility, the Bishop’s residence, a retreat house, a pavilion, and all of the offices for the diocese. These individuals have worked two jobs to afford their home and have lost everything. If you would like to donate to them, please specify in your donation. You can donate at: https://www.osvonlinegiving.com/1045/DirectDonate/47896.
Gaven DeVillier is a sophomore management consulting and theology major. He loves doing youth ministry, cooking, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and Nutella. Contact Gaven at email@example.com.