WAXAHACHIE — Louisiana may need more than an arc to assess the damage that the 6.9 trillion gallons of rainfall destroyed in its path. Thousands of the citizens affected have been left homeless and without food or personal belongings.
“The catastrophic flood devastating Louisiana is now the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Hurricane Sandy four years ago," according to a recent Red Cross statement on CNN.
Waxahachie native and retired Army Veteran, Niki Pitts and Waxahachie Ninth Grade Academy AP Human Geography teacher and Ninth Grade Student Council director, Lisa Minton, have joined forces in the hope of making a difference for the Louisiana residents affected.
“I was stationed in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina and Rita so I know first-hand what it’s like to be without the necessities of life during a natural disaster,” Pitts said. “I spent most of my life serving our country in the armed forces, and I don’t intend to stop just because I retired!”
Pitts, Minton and the WNGA Student Council members have come together to create a list of items to donate that will be collected at various locations across town.
“At WNGA, we heard about the drive through an email forwarded to me and we decided we wanted to get involved,” Minton said.
Minton noted that one of the values WNGA focuses on is service.
“We try to do something monthly for our students, for our community, and something beyond ourselves. This is something that is a definite need, beyond ourselves, and we wanted to show our neighbors in Louisiana that there are people who care, so we launched our 'Louisiana Relief project' at WNGA,” Minton said. “We are going to be collecting goods on our campus all next week and are hopeful that we can really help make a difference in the lives of those affected by the floods.”
“I’m spearheading this effort because it is important to dedicate ourselves to something that gives our lives meaning and purpose. If we have the ability, we should take the opportunity to give back when we can. Louisiana is hurting right now, and they need our help,” Pitts said.
Being that thousands of residents are in such a time of need, Pitts expressed that if it were her community, she would hope others around the nation would reach out just as she is.
“We’re all in this together and can’t survive without the kindness and compassion of others. It’s with the help of local businesses like Americase and the dedicated volunteers throughout Ellis County that we’re able to step up and pay it forward,” Pitts said.
Owners of Americase and the Waxahachie Gymnastics Center have offered up the necessary room to collect these donations within their workplace. Those interested can find a third donation location at the Waxahachie Ninth Grade Academy in a box by the office front door. The Walmart Supercenter in Waxahachie has also agreed to donate pet food.
Groups are accepting donations from Aug. 27 — Sep. 2.
Pitts said the groups would greatly appreciate any assistance the community can give in making sure that donation trailer is full.
As well as open donation locations, WNGA Student Council members have also been handing out flyers throughout the week.
“I’m excited to see so many people that are wanting to commit to something other than themselves and engage with the community to uplift our neighbors and use their time and talents for a worthy cause,” Pitts concluded.
Donations requested are as followed:
Dry Goods and Shelf Stable Food, Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, Baby Formula, Pet Food, Bedding (Pillows, Blankets, Sheets), Baby items (Diapers, Formula, Wipes), Cleaning Supplies (Mold and Mildew Removers, Disinfectants, Bleach, Mops, Brooms, Sponges, Latex/Disposable Gloves, Trash Bags), Toiletries and Hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, hand soaps/sanitizer, razors, and feminine products), Towels, washcloths, Tools and Equipment (shovels, pry bars, hammers, wheelbarrows, rakes).
Pitts asks that no clothing articles be donated. Donation centers are overwhelmed with clothing and have no storage room for clothing left.
Another way to donate
Want to help contribute to the Louisiana flood relief, but can’t have donations ready by the deadline on Sept. 2? No worries.
Roadie, an “app-based community” is a delivery network which provides free pickup and the provision for donations to those who have unused space available in their vehicles on their way to and from Baton Rouge.
This app allows people to donate clothing, supplies, and non-perishable items for flood relief efforts to those in need.
“Many of the items needed in the wake of the flood — like mattresses, furniture, appliances and other household supplies — can be difficult or cost-prohibitive to ship," according to a Roadie press release. "At the same time, thousands of vehicles are already driving along I-10, I-12, and other major corridors around Baton Rouge on any given day.”
Working the app is very simple. Users set up a pickup time, search and find a driver and the items will soon be on their way to Baton Rouge.
The website always notes that all Roadie miles are driven qualify for a tax write off as well as free roadside assistance and free food and drinks at any Waffle House.
Roadie is available in the App Store, Google Play store, or at www.roadie.com.
Kelsey Poynor, @KPoynor_WDL