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Leesville community rallies together following Hurricane Laura

Posted at 9:03 AM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 10:03:13-04

Religious communities from across Louisiana and the United States are working to help areas ravaged by Hurricane Laura recover.

In Vernon Parish, the Leesville area was hit hard during the hurricane, but the community is coming together, rallying behind one another on the road to recovery.

At East Leesville Baptist Church, the gym is now a warehouse. Items are sorted and prepared to be distributed.

"The Lord has blessed us unmercifully," said Chief Deacon Ben Iles. "We're trying to share God's love with God's people. Anyone who comes through this line that has a need, we share. All of this stuff has been donated."

The church is partnering with several organizations to prepare between 12,000 to 15,000 meals per day with several hundred distributed to rural areas.

Throughout the day, residents are stopping at the church to stock up on basic needs.

Iles said, "We're giving them Gatorade, air conditioners, personal generators, food, hygiene items."

Throughout the area, crews are still working to restore power and remove downed trees.

"You couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a fallen tree or power line following the storm. Some places took two days to cut their way into. I've seen some pitiful souls, but I'm encouraged by the way the locals have come together to do what needs to be done," Iles said.

Groups have also traveled from across the country to Vernon Parish. The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Group from South Carolina is removing trees, covering roofs and helping others free of charge.

"It's very important to these people," said Joye Bodie. "They're just down and when they see us coming, it gives us a bright hope. That's why we're here. We want to give hope to people who are lost, concerned and upset. We just want to give hope to this world."

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