Hurricane Ida recovery: Louisiana church holds daily drive-thru for disaster relief supplies

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Hurricane Ida recovery: Louisiana church holds daily drive-thru for disaster relief supplies

A Louisiana church – which has stepped up in times of disaster for more than 15 years – has been working around the clock to distribute disaster re

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A Louisiana church – which has stepped up in times of disaster for more than 15 years – has been working around the clock to distribute disaster relief supplies and services to families in need after Hurricane Ida tore through the state.  

For the last five weeks, Samuel Mamou has been leading New Wine Christian Fellowship Church’s efforts in doling out water, nonperishable food, hygiene kits and cleaning supplies to hundreds of residents every day. 

New Wine Christian Fellowship helping distributing supplies to the Laplace community after Hurricane Ida

New Wine Christian Fellowship helping distributing supplies to the Laplace community after Hurricane Ida
(Ms. Latanya Eugene. )

It has become a full-time job for Mamou — a father of five whose own home was significantly damaged by Ida – and all of the volunteers that have stepped up to help the Laplace community. 

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“Our community has largely been devastated, looked like a war zone,” senior pastor Neil Bernard told Fox News. “But we’re committed to helping our community rebuild.” 

The night Ida struck, the church immediately jumped into action, using its 18,000-square-foot church to provide shelter for those whose homes flooded. 

New Wine Christian Fellowship helping distributing supplies to the Laplace community after Hurricane Ida 

New Wine Christian Fellowship helping distributing supplies to the Laplace community after Hurricane Ida 
(Ms. Latanya Eugene)

Ever since, they have been working with various organizations to collect and distribute necessary supplies. That’s where Mamou comes in, Bernard said. 

Following the storm, Mamou told Fox News that his phone was blowing up with calls from “different organizations who wanted to help out … to help us out with relief.”    

The church has been known for serving the St. John the Baptist Parish community in times of disaster ever since Hurricane Katrina struck the region in 2005. They assist with what Bernard calls the four phases of disaster recovery: rescue, relief, recovery and rebuild.

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New Wine Christian Fellowship helping distributing supplies to the Laplace community after Hurricane Ida

New Wine Christian Fellowship helping distributing supplies to the Laplace community after Hurricane Ida
(Ms. Latanya Eugene)

As a result, Bernard says the church has established relationships with groups like Convoy of Hope, Operation Blessing and other individuals who specialized in providing disaster relief to communities. 

After Ida, organizations sent truckloads of disaster relief supplies and even building supplies that were brought to the church’s 60,000-square-foot warehouse. 

“The vast majority of the relief has come from faith-based organizations from all over the country who saw the plight of what happened in Louisiana and stepped up and responded by saying, ‘Listen, what can we do?’” Bernard said. 

New Wine Christian Fellowship helping distributing supplies to the Laplace community after Hurricane Ida

New Wine Christian Fellowship helping distributing supplies to the Laplace community after Hurricane Ida
(Ms. Latanya Eugene)

After receiving supplies, Mamou immediately set up multiple distribution events at the church each day. Hundreds of cars will file in and stock up on supplies and at one point, they were even given hot meals. 

On a daily basis, Mamou said they see at least 800 cars “if not more than that.” 

However, their efforts are far from over. 

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Now, as the community continues to make their way back home, their focus has been on helping residents gut and rebuild their homes, Bernard said. 

In order to assist with the recovery and rebuild phase, the church has been collecting and distributing “gloves, safety glasses, shovels, rakes, brooms and things to help people clean out their home.”  

Bernard says the church has also been coordinating with other agencies to bring in people who know how to properly rebuild. The senior pastor knows the rebuilding phase it is the “longest and most difficult part of any disaster” but they aren’t shying away from the challenge. 

Over the next few weeks, the church has groups from all over the country flying in to help with the rebuilding effort. 

“When there’s a disaster or a major effect on our community, our church normally rises to the call,” Mamou said. 

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