Ascension of Our Lord Council 9623
In August 2016, heavy rains in southern Louisiana resulted in the flooding of more than 100,000 homes, leaving tens of thousands displaced and shelters crowded beyond capacity. Council 9623 was one of the first groups to step up and respond to the emergency, beginning a series of charitable endeavors that would extend throughout the year.
The immediate response of the council was to take to the streets and assist with the urgent rescue of families struggling to get to safety. Flood victims were rescued from areas under six feet or more of water. Elsewhere, other Knights took shifts to prepare and serve food to families taking shelter at community centers.
In the days following the alert, council members traveled to different regions to help fill sandbags to deter the backflow from swelling rivers and to remove damaged items from homes. Ruined furniture had to be moved, and wallboards soaked beyond repair had to be stripped and hauled into the street.
Recognizing the need for further assistance, the council began soliciting the aid of local parishes and merchants, requesting donations of bottled drinking water, cleaning supplies, baby supplies, canned food, ice, wheelchairs and more. Often, it was the council members themselves who delivered truckloads worth of goods to the areas in need.
As this work continued, the council members continued to prepare and serve food to the hundreds of families who remained displaced. Across the region, more than 5,300 hot meals of pastalaya, chicken, gumbo and more kept residents and workers fed as they toiled to repair their communities.
Months later, with repairs still underway and life not yet back to normal, the council continued this support. When the holiday season arrived, more than 175 Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets were delivered, in addition to 18 truckloads of Christmas toys, home furniture and kitchen items. Wheelchair ramps were built and installed for seniors and those with physical disabilities.
Last but not least, thousands of dollars in donations were collected and distributed to families and the parishes that served them as they rebuilt their lives. The council members collected monetary contributions totaling $30,187 from area donors. The local Knights also distributed checks using monies raised through Knights of Columbus Charities, as well as funds gifted from the Supreme Council and others.