NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- Southern Baptist Disaster Relief feeding operations are now in high gear in nine Louisiana and Mississippi venues, with 83,500 hot meals prepared and delivered to Hurricane Isaac victims in the two hard-hit Gulf Coast states by noon Sept. 4.
Most of the feeding is underway in the greater New Orleans area, where some 100,000 people are still without electricity in sweltering heat six days after the Category 1 storm brought torrential rains and flooding. At one point, 700,000 were without power.
In some areas -- especially Plaquemines, St. John the Baptist and Jefferson parishes -- the rain resulted in more flooding and residential damage than that caused by Hurricane Katrina seven years ago. Much of Plaquemines remains under five feet of water.
"Our greatest need is for more mud-out people," said Gibbie McMillan, state DR director for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. "We're in the process of trying to get in some mud-out teams from Florida and Alabama.
"In Laplace, there are 150 homes in need of mud-out," McMillan said. "Water is just now receding in some areas, so we can get teams in. We're trying to get people as close to affected areas as possible, but we can't bring in people unless we have a place to house and feed them."
McMillan said Celebration Church in Laplace, pastored by Chris Williams, was hit hard by the floodwaters and has some 18 inches of water standing in the church's sanctuary. Many of its members are in shelters in Shreveport and Alexandria, La.
Post-traumatic stress has set in for many south Louisiana residents, especially those who also went through Hurricane Katrina in 2005, McMillan said.
"We appreciate the prayers of the people. Prayer is getting us through some difficult times. One thing I've learned in 12 years of doing this is that you have to take one day at a time. No two storms are alike. You have to learn to act but not react to everything going on around you," McMillan said.
SBDR feeding units from Louisiana, Texas (Southern Baptist Convention of Texas and Texas Baptist Men), Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma are preparing meals in Baton Rouge, Kenner, Covington, Westwego, Houma, Belle Chasse and Slidell, La., and in Long Beach and Pascagoula, Miss.
If necessary, Southern Baptist feeding kitchens from the six state conventions have the capacity to potentially serve up to 225,000 meals a day in Louisiana and Mississippi. After SBDR volunteers cook and package the meals, the food is being delivered to flood victims by the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army. ... Read More