October 21, 2018

Local church group lends helping hand to flood victims

Dallyn Harcrow Angela Harcrow Nicholas Knox and Morgan Bailey. Front row Glen Munguia Jennifer Lewis Mrs Ollie Purvis Marianna Bailey and Tommy Bailey

Pictured above are a group of local church volunteers that traveled to Baton Rouge on Labor Day weekend to aid flood victims. Back (L-R): Dallyn Harcrow, Angela Harcrow, Nicholas Knox, and Morgan Bailey. Front (L-R): Glen Munguia, Jennifer Lewis, elderly flood victim Mrs. Ollie Purvis, Marianna Bailey, and Tommy Bailey.

(Baton Rouge, LA) — Labor Day Weekend of 2016 literally was a weekend of labor for eight local members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), who were among more than 1,000 volunteers from the Greater Atlanta area donating their time to help victims of the flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

While in Louisiana, the volunteers were grouped into teams of 8-12. Each team helped between 2-4 families whose homes were devastated by the unexpected floods that hit the area in early August.

Pausing only for a 7:30 a.m. church worship service on Sunday, volunteers worked both Saturday and Sunday, before driving back to Heard County on Monday.

Planning for the weekend of service began about two weeks before Labor Day, when the call went out from local leaders of the LDS church asking for volunteers. The number of people who volunteered more than doubled the initial goal.

President Brian Clark, local leader of the Franklin Branch (congregation) said, “We need five people from our group to go down to Louisiana to help with the cleanup if anyone is able to go.”

Volunteers camped out in tent cities over the long Labor Day weekend, spending Friday on the road to Louisiana, working long days on Saturday and Sunday, helping families tear out sheet rock and clear damaged belongings from their homes, and then spent Monday returning to the Atlanta area.

Flooded homes generally must be stripped of all property in the damaged area of the house, primarily involving removal of debris, furniture and other belongings, and then stripping out drywall, cabinetry, wood floors, and other components of homes so owners can start to rebuild. Thousands in the Baton Rouge area have lost everything but the basic structure of their home.

Angela Harcrow shared this about her experience, “This was the most awful thing I had ever seen in my life.  I really loved the experience of going down to do service to those people in need. It is truly a growing and humbling experience.”

Although this is the first weekend that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Franklin, GA have made the trek to Baton Rouge to assist in disaster relief in Louisiana, it is the third weekend that volunteers donning the familiar yellow Mormon Helping Hands shirts could be seen throughout the Louisiana flood areas.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints organized a relief effort, with a goal of maintaining 2,000 volunteers per weekend in the affected area. The actual number of volunteers doubled, then tripled, with each succeeding weekend.

The Bailey, Mungula, Lewis and Knox families were among 6,696 Mormon Helping Hands Volunteers giving 108,249 hours of service between August 29 – September 4.

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