Picayune residents collecting items for Louisiana flood victims

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 23, 2016

Fall has just started, yet some people in Picayune are already thinking about Christmas, for children here and for people in Louisiana who lost everything in the August floods.

Teresa Rouse of Picayune said friends started collecting donations in August for the flood victims, and she showed up with two bags of items to donate. They hoped they could do more.

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That spur-of-the-moment effort snowballed, helped by social media, and they collected a total of 11 truckloads of food and household supplies, along with cash donations, for Louisiana flood victims.

“I’d estimated we sent $20,000 worth of stuff,” Rouse said.

An estimated 146,000 homes were damaged after record rainfall caused rivers in 20 Louisiana parishes to overflow.

“People just came. We put it on Facebook, and they just kept coming. We delivered our last load Saturday two weeks ago.”

Donors included the Rose of Sharon Church of God in Christ and Resurrection Life Worship Center, both in Picayune, she said.

“We just prayed about it and prayed about it,” Rouse said. “Every time we’d run low on something, it would come through the door.”

The ad hoc drive also benefited students in the devastated area, collecting 400 school uniforms and 200 backpacks and lunch boxes and delivering them to Faith Fellowship Pentecostal Church in Denham Springs and First Baptist Church of Holden, Rouse said.

The joy of giving left Rouse, who operates Affordable Insurance Agency at 709 Memorial Blvd. in Picayune, and her fellow organizers wondering if they could do something to help Louisiana residents enjoy the holiday season after a year with so much loss.

With Christmas about 90 days away, they decided to do a second drive, collecting toys for both distribution here and in Louisiana.

They’re seeking books, games, toys, bicycles, “whatever a kid would want,” she said.

“We already have several bikes and helmets, scooters, games, electronics,” Rouse said.

Donations can be dropped off at her insurance office or at Walker Collision Center at 1003 Highway 11 South in Picayune.

More information about the drive is available by calling Rouse at 601-215-6089 or the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/213890492359946/ . Rouse noted that limits events pages to 30 days, but the drive will continue until Christmas.