When Billy Bowyer went into a Baton Rouge house recently carrying 12 pounds of barbecue chicken with all the fixings, he didn’t know how much of a blessing that southern supper would end up being to the family who lived there. Victims of the recent flooding, they had lived on nothing but peanut butter sandwiches for the previous four days—and they were running low on bread. Going to get more was out of the question since all the grocery stores were closed.
As the family grew low on supplies, a sentiment that has been echoed all over the affected area rose up: What now?
What now? Now that the supplies are gone. What now? Now that the homes are gutted and destroyed. What now? How do they even begin to rebuild the lives lost in the rising water?
“They’re at a loss because they’re in a fog,” Bowyer said. “They don’t know how to start.”
With the death toll at 13 and rising, and 60,000 homes damaged by the two feet of water that came down in less than two days, there’s a need for someone with permanence—someone with a plan.
Enter Bowyer. He’s certified in dealing with crises and is working with several churches in the area to make sure everyone gets help. His day job before the flooding was to fill the gaps when churches needed help meeting needs, but now those gaps are bigger and wetter, and they’re growing black mold.
Sure, they need supplies right now, but this isn’t something where the need is going to end after a few weeks. Bowyer is focused on an area where the majority of residents don’t even have flood insurance much less the out-of-pocket money needed to repair their homes.
Right now, people like Bowyer are focused on getting those salvageable things out of homes before mold destroys them. But later, when FEMA and church groups leave, Bowyer will still be there working, counseling and putting lives back together.
He’s in this for the long haul, and he’s not alone.
While Bowyer is on the front lines, those from drier areas are bringing in supplies for him to distribute—including one truck that will be leaving from Huntsville on September 5.
A drop off location for donations for Baton Rouge will be at Grace Lutheran School. The deadline to donate is September 3 at 3 p.m.
Bowyer included a list of desperately needed items:
- Anti-microbial cleaners that kill mold and fungus. Bowyer recommends Shock Wave. You can get that on Amazon here.
- Bottled water
- Cleaning supplies such as bleach, 409, Fabuloso, gloves, masks, scrub brushes, towels, brooms, mops, buckets
- Air mattresses (twin and queen) with hand pumps. Bowyer said the inexpensive versions from Walmart work fine.
- Inexpensive sheet sets
- Clothes and shoes—any and all sizes in good shape
- Any size fan. In many cases they’re fighting Louisiana humidity to keep rooms dry
- Canned food items
- Food supply items such as plastic cups, forks and plates
If you’d rather donate money to help the Baton Rouge flood victims, click here.