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Donations unloaded at Impact Church in Louisiana.
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Donations being unloaded at Impact Church in Louisiana.
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Alicia Atwell, Joshua Atwell, Caleb Atwell, JoJo Atwell, Therese Atwell and Felix Todd in Denham Springs, Louisiana.
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Courtesy Matthew Allen
The 20-foot truck which was taken to Louisiana. It was parked in front of the Hoover Public Safety Center and nearly full after a week.
In a week’s time, residents of Hoover and surrounding communities came together to nearly fill a 20-foot-long truck with donations for those affected by the floods in Louisiana.
A men’s coffee group from St. Mark United Methodist, including members Felix Todd, Cliff Lumpkin, Scott Perry, Richard Nelson and Matthew Allen, advertising manager for Starnes Publishing, organized the drive.
Starnes Publishing, which publishes the Hoover Sun, paid for the rental truck, and the City of Hoover allowed the truck to be parked at the Hoover Public Safety Center on Valleydale Road. In the week the truck was parked in front of the public safety center, residents brought donations including diapers, buckets, mops, bleach, mold killer, water bottles and other needed supplies.
Todd and Lumpkin drove the truck to Denham Springs, Louisiana over the weekend, arriving at Impact Church on Sunday afternoon.
“Driving down the back roads to that parish was a little uneasy, seeing the stacks of trash next to wet sheetrock, carpet, people’s furniture,” Lumpkin, a Vestavia Hills resident, said, “and it was one right after the next. It was pretty disheartening.”
Lumpkin said while it was hard to see all of the devastation in the parish, arriving at Impact Church gave a snapshot of how many people were donating and volunteers were helping.
“Every little bit helps,” Lumpkin said. “Because it takes 100 pennies to make a dollar. [If] everybody gives a penny, you eventually make a dollar.”
Todd, a Hoover resident, said he encourages everyone to donate and help out those affected by the floods.
“I think it’s important to keep in mind that there is this great need there and just to look for ways to help,” he said. “I don’t know that my role is the best way, but I just encourage people to be cognizant of the needs in our community.”
Gordon Atwell, pastor of Impact Church, said he has been grateful for the outpouring of support they have seen. Donations have come from all over, he said, and there is a consistent stream of trucks coming through the church. In addition to individuals donating supplies, Atwell said locals have picked up food to cook meals that can then be distributed as well as volunteered their time to donate and distribute supplies.
“We’ve had quite a bit of support as people have responded with manpower,” Atwell said.
Around 90 percent of the homes in Livingston Parish, where Denham Springs is located, were damaged in the floods, and Atwell said it is “unfathomable to think there were so many people displaced.” While all of the donations have been helpful, Atwell said the need for bottled water, mops, buckets, cleaning supplies, mold killers, gloves, bleach, laundry detergent, shovels, baby food and adult and baby diapers continues.
Lumpkin said driving down to Louisiana showed him the importance of calling to ask what needs a community has. Getting specifics can be a greater help to a community, he said.
Anyone who hopes to donate to Impact Church can reach out at through their website (ImpactChurchLA.com), via Facebook or call 225-664-0731. There is a way to make monetary donations on the church’s website, and they are keeping the list of needed supplies updated online.
“I think we’re one of the few distribution centers in our area, and it’s all been from the generosity of people,” Atwell said.