Local Flood Drive Provides Relief to Louisiana Residents

Lousiana Flood supplies

Supplies are loaded at Wake Forest Middle School and
ready to leave to provide relief to Louisiana flood victims.
Photo by Stacey Weddle

Just before the school year started, Wake Forest Middle School Principal Stacey Weddle, a graduate of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge who is originally from Lafayette, Louisiana, went to her home state and witnessed the August flood devastation first hand. Seeing the staggering loss left her wanting to help.

“It really impacted me,” Weddle said. “I saw more water than land. In the water were houses, businesses and cars. It was a little surreal.”

The area affected is not in a designated flood zone, and the Vermillion River had taken over the area quickly, leaving residents little time to prepare.

Weddle was impressed with how the “Cajun Navy,” as local volunteers are now known, came together to help with rescuing, rebuilding and other services. The motto for the volunteer group is “We don’t wait around for help. We are the help.” Others residents have helped one another as well, doing what they can for one another.

“What stood out to me was how the people were handling it all. Everyone was helping each other, no matter what they had lost. Immediately, regular people stepped up and began recovery efforts. It made me proud to be from Louisiana,” Weddle said.

Lousiana Flood supplies

Students at N.P. Moss Preparatory School in Lafayette Parish are grateful for the gift of school supplies.

Hearing that a local high school in Lafayette was the drop-off location for food, clothing and cleaning supplies, Weddle knew she wanted to include school supplies in that list. Weddle decided to start a school supply drive, understanding the impact not only as a parent but a middle school principal.

School had just begun the previous day, and she wanted the Lafayette Parish School System’s (LPSS) loss to be turned into a LOSS – Lots of School Supplies.

Jody Slaughter-Duhon, Principal of N.P. Moss Preparatory School in Lafayette Parish, is grateful for the help and overwhelmed at the response from a town so far away.

“Several of our students had been displaced due to the damage to their homes,” Slaughter-Duhon said. “This amazing donation will allow us to help provide them with items they need and have lost. This will go a long way in reducing the stress on kids and parents by providing supplies and materials to help give them a feeling of stability in their daily school life.”

Weddle reached out to the Wake Forest community through a Facebook post, and many people responded.

“The response has been amazing. We collected enough to fill a 16-foot Pack Rat,” Weddle said.

Weddle said a variety of schools contributed: Rolesville Elementary, Heritage Middle (Wake Forest), Wakelon Elementary (Zebulon), Sycamore Creek Elementary (Raleigh), Wake Forest High, Wakefield Elementary and Durant Middle (Raleigh). And the Maintenance and Operations Department of Wake County Public School System pitched in.

Lousiana Flood supplies

Students and teachers at N.P. Moss Preparatory School in Lafayette Parish show the variety of school supplies that had been donated through Weddell’s supply drive. Photos by Jody Slaughter-Duhon

Local and area businesses donated as well, with contributors including Delta Airlines (Raleigh-Durham International Airport), Novant Health Care on Rogers Road, Allied Rehabilitative Services, and Women In Network. Wake Forest Awards and Engraving donated approximately 100 school uniform polo shirts. Pack Rat, LLC provided the storage offered to transport the donations to N.P. Moss Middle School for free.

Church groups, private counseling groups and so many more brought a steady stream of school supplies. Extreme couponers used their skills and brought extras for donation.

“We are so incredibly grateful and will be eternally thankful to this community for reaching out to our community,” Slaughter-Duhon said. “We are blessed, and though it will take a little time, we will recover strong because of caring people like you.”

— Lisa Brown • lisa.brown@rolesvillebuzz.com • October 2016

SIDENOTE: All of the school supplies and other items were delivered at the end of September. Slaughter-Duhon expressed her gratitude again in a note sent to Lisa Brown:

“It was very overwhelming to experience, first hand, the generosity of the people of your community. Everyone here in Cajun country is incredibly grateful to our North Carolina friends! I have enclosed a few pictures. THANK YOU ALL, sincerely, from the bottom of our hearts!!!”