HAMLET — The Rev. Tommy Legrand is calling on people in Richmond and surrounding counties to donate household items, clothing and funds to help flood victims in Louisiana rebuild their lives.
“Our mission here is to assist the victims of the flood in Baton Rouge,” said Legrand, pastor of Prayer and Faith Temple Church of God in Christ. “I happen to know pastors, personally, in Baton Rouge. I have traveled there since 1990. I’ve conducted tent revivals out there, church revivals. I have preached on special occasions out there and at conferences.”
Legrand said his church will be accepting donations through Oct. 15, and after that, the church will deliver all of the contributions to Baton Rouge.
“One of the pastors I know personally lost everything in his home, and he had 27 members who were also flooded out,” Legrand said. “I’ve sent a small financial contribution, but the need is really great and I just think it’s the right thing to do for us to help our brothers and sisters who are suffering — with financial and material support, as well as spiritual.”
He said the most needed items are those that can be used to rebuild houses back into homes, such as mattresses, stoves, refrigerators, freezers and bedroom and living room furniture.
“I think that Richmond Countians are a people of hospitality and love and concern,” Legrand said. “So I’m calling on our brothers and sisters, on those willing to make a contribution and help us.”
He added that if any people, businesses or charitable organizations would like to contribute, he will give them the information needed to write off their donations on their tax returns.
“It’s a tragic event that’s happening, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to help out in more than just prayer, because once you pray, you have to go do something,” said Annette Zimmerman. “I would love to go, if at all possible. Hopefully my husband will be the truck driver, and then I’ll definitely go.”
Zimmerman, a survivor of the 1991 Imperial Foods fire, is no stranger to the challenges of rebuilding after a disaster.
“They’re not just missing the large things, but also things we don’t think about, like bottled water, canned food they can eat without cooking because there’s no stove,” she said. “And they need towels and other things. And the weather’s fixin’ to change. Those type of things, they’re going to need furnishings after they rebuild.
“Right now, families are separated,” she continued. “The children might have to be somewhere, and the mother and father somewhere else because of the lack of room. And the people they are staying with are dealing with it as well, and taking on more people into their homes. Where are the funds coming from?”
She said that even a month after a devastating event, some of the people who stepped forward to help in the beginning start to take a few steps back.
“Unfortunately, peoples’ generosity and good will go away,” Zimmerman said. “Because after a certain amount of time, you’re ready for someone to go because you want your own home back. It’s not that you don’t care, you’re just used to being in your home.
“All of them, they want their lives back. And I can relate,” she added. “After the fire, I just wanted to get my life back, pre-Sept. 3, ‘91. I wanted back what I had before that day. So, I can understand wanting something of your own and wanting to get back to where you were before.”
Donations and items can be brought directly to the church at 217 Thomas Street in Hamlet.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.