Hours before the sun will even begin to think about peeking over the horizon, the sound of footsteps on pavement echoes through the air at Ascension Baptist Church in Gonzales. It’s soon joined by the clunking of plastic containers and the clanking of large metallic skillets. By 5:00 a.m., the parking lot is filled with a symphony of sound and action.
In this hurricane-battered area of Southern Louisiana, it’s music to residents’ ears. It means Texas Baptist Men volunteers are cooking meals for them to eat, nutrition that will give them the strength they need to push forward.
“Every morning, TBM volunteers wake up at 4:30 to prepare lunch,” TBM Disaster Relief Director David Wells said. “Quickly after finishing that, they’re back at it cooking dinner. These are long, tiring days. That’s what it takes to serve 7-10,000 meals a day. But people need to eat and have no other way of getting food. That’s what drives us to serve as Christ did.”
TBM feeding volunteers from across the state have provided more than 70,000 meals since Hurricane Ida made landfall Aug. 30 with 150-mph winds to tore through much of Louisiana. They continued serving even as Hurricane Nicholas moved across the state with heavy rain.
While the feeding volunteers are based in Gonzales, TBM’s work is spread across South Louisiana. Roughly 25 TBM volunteer teams have been serving, including chainsaw teams, shower/laundry teams, an incident management team, chaplains and more.
“Needs are all across Louisiana,” Wells said. “Our chainsaw teams alone are spread across communities along a 30-mile stretch. Electricity is starting to come on and cities are getting up and running again, but the recovery process will be long. We will continue working for weeks.”
Churches across Texas donated cleaning supplies and bottled water to TBM to help Louisiana churches meet immediate needs. TBM already has sent two tractor-trailer loads as well as another trailer filled with supplies.
“Texas has wrapped its arms around Louisiana,” Wells said. “It is remarkable how often we hear about a need and then I turn around and a church is donating items that meet that specific need. In the aftermath of the hurricane, God continues to work wonderfully.”
TBM volunteers are meeting more than physical needs. They’re encouraging people. They’re praying with them. God is comforting people after Hurricane Ida.
“God is transforming lives,” Wells said. “Four people have come to know Christ as Savior. Others have grown closer to Him. Please continue to pray for Louisiana. Pray for those who are responding to needs. Your prayers are truly making a difference after this storm”
TBM Disaster Relief is made possible by donations. To support TBM financially, visit tbmtx.org/donate or send a designated check to Texas Baptist Men, 5351 Catron Drive, Dallas, TX 75227.