Over the course of this week and last, Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa has welcomed hundreds of volunteers from across the country and right here at home who are assisting in flood clean-up, demolition and rebuilding efforts.
“The spirit of fellowship is alive and well in this great country,” Matassa said. “From Utah to Pennsylvania and all points in between, people have come to offer their labor and a comforting word to Ascension Parish. We could not be more grateful.”
Volunteer Ascension manned the shelter at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center for 48 hours until the Red Cross came in. They managed a huge number of supplies and groups coming to donate their time and talent.
“At any given time, there had to be well over 100 volunteers on the grounds at Lamar-Dixon,” said Sherry Denning, Executive Director of Volunteer Ascension. “Just watching this community come together is something to witness. I am proud of Ascension Parish, I really am.”
The volunteers from Ascension Parish have been supplemented by volunteers from out of parish and out of state. Several faith-based organizations brought in crews of workers to assist with demolition and rebuilding.
Samaritan’s Purse International Relief and the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief are each bringing in between 150-300 people over the next three months to assist in recovery.
Randy Corn, Program Manager with Samaritan’s Purse, said that Lamar-Dixon has been particularly accommodating to their needs. “They’ve provided us a place to sleep, electricity to cook with, and all the water we need,” Corn said.
Mormon Helping Hands has organized thousands to come to the Capital Region, with another wave of volunteers arriving this weekend at Lamar-Dixon.
The Mormon Helping Hands program brings together members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their neighbors to provide community service. These volunteers in their trademark yellow shirts help people whose lives have been affected by natural disasters and other emergencies.
“We are trusting in God, and God has sent us a mighty army of help,” Matassa said. “To each and every volunteer: on behalf of the people of Ascension Parish, thank you so much.”