The GoFundMe account for the three burned churches in St. Landry Parish has exceeded its goal, and it continues to grow. The money was raised in just over a week.
There’s one word that describes how the pastors and their congregations are feeling: grateful.
Pastor Gerald Touissant of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church says he has been lost for words.
“Those people who helped us this week, these few days… are beautiful people,” Pastor Touissant said.
In eight days, the link was shared over 150 times, and over 37,000 people have made donations. The money is going to the 7th District Missionary Baptist Association, and from there, it will be divided.
“The donations that are coming in will go into our general account for the 7th District Missionary Baptist Association. It’s going to be set aside apart from all of our other monies, and it’s going to be equally distributed among the three churches, whatever the amount may be,” Freddie Jack, president of the 7th District Missionary Baptist Association, said.
“I want it to be comfortable. I want it to be accessible and spiritual. I want it to be a place where someone would want to come and worship,” Touissant said.
The largest donation made directly to the GoFundMe was $50,000. That was followed by a donation of $20,000 made by model and author Chrissy Teigen. Other donations of $5,000, $1,000, $100, and even ten dollars, are all setting the stage for the rebirth of three church communities.
“This is not nothing I dreamed of. I was on my way to work to have a regular life, regular day. That fire changed my whole life. I will never be the same,” Touissant said.
It isn’t just the dollar amounts listed on the page. Thousands of comments and messages of encouragement have been left for the churches.
The GoFundMe support team donated $1,000. The total from the GoFundMe account does not include private donations and fundraising efforts, including a private donation of $300,000. According to WBAL, the owner of the Baltimore Ravens, Steve Bisciotti, has also donated $100,000 to the churches.