Catholic Charities mobilizes in rain-drenched Southern Louisiana

The town of Lake Charles, Louisiana is reeling from more than a foot of rain and widespread flooding that occurred earlier this week, as the local Catholic Charities is working to provide necessary supplies to the community.

Catholic Charities of Southwest Louisiana (CCSWL), located in Lake Charles, announced on its Facebook page Wednesday that it plans to distribute cleaning supplies to the community on Friday, May 21. 

Despite its regular food distributions being disrupted because of the flooding, the Catholic Charities affiliate  announced that it had reopened with mostly regular operations on May 19, and encouraged those in need of aid to come to their office at 1225 2nd Street in Lake Charles. 

The organization also requested donations of cleaning supplies, such as mops, buckets, sponges, brooms, bleach, and towels, which it said can be dropped off or shipped to its address. 

A call to the affiliate’s office on Friday went unanswered, and the outgoing message stated that the office has closed because of the threat of more flooding. 

Monday’s rainfall was the third-highest ever recorded in a single day for Lake Charles. State and local emergency response teams deployed boats to make rescues and requests to evacuate this week, reporting 30 such rescues or requests in one hour on Monday. The town endured two hurricanes in 2020. 

A local organization called The Vessel Project, which helps poor and homeless people in the area, is planning to host an emergency supply distribution drive-thru on May 24th from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. 

The organization told CNA that it is in need of monetary assistance, as well as donations of cleaning supplies such as mold and mildew spray, towels, buckets, mops, rakes, shovels, and wheelbarrows.

The Vessel Project says it is assessing community members’ greatest needs by asking them to fill out a Google Form, and they are planning to conduct meal distributions for neighbors in the near future. 

Most of the current rainfall in the Lake Charles area fell on Monday, although more rain is expected on Friday. A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect through 7 p.m. Friday evening for Lake Charles, as the city remains under threat of heavier rains throughout the afternoon, KPLC reported. 

Hurricane Laura slammed the Louisiana coast last August with 150 mile-per-hour winds, and Hurricane Delta arrived in October, the fourth named storm to strike Louisiana in 2020. The storms wrought an estimated $12 billion in cumulative damages.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) executive committee is inviting the ecumenical fellowship and all people of good will to join in a live-streamed prayer for the Holy Land on 20 May at 16:30 CET.