Wayne W. Williams, Blanchard, Tobie M.
Don’t give up was the message from one state’s 4-H’er to those in Louisiana who were affected by the recent hurricanes.
The message was part of North Carolina 4-H’s Helpful Hands, Healing Hearts campaign. 4-H’ers from across North Carolina collected school supplies, toiletries and stuffed animals for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The items were packed into "Boxes of Hope" that arrived in Louisiana Monday (Oct. 17).
Two 18-wheelers brought more than 2,500 boxes to Baton Rouge – where 4-H’ers and LSU AgCenter agents were ready to receive them and distribute them to others.
"We are loading up the boxes and sending them out to the affected parishes," said Trey Williams, executive director of the Louisiana 4-H Foundation.
Among those helping was one Livingston Parish 4-H’er took time from his afternoon to help load the boxes.
"I want to help these people," said Daniel Wendt, a sixth-grader at Southside Junior High.
Many of the boxes were headed to 4-H’ers who were affected by the storms, but with so many boxes the campaign will reach more youth.
"It’s not just for 4-H’ers; that’s the starting point," said Williams. "It’s bigger than 4-H. We’re out to touch every youth we can."
The Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Ascension Parish is still housing nearly 300 young evacuees. LSU AgCenter 4-H agent Michelle Shahan, who works in that parish, was loading up 300 boxes to take back to the shelter.
"This will let them know that people care," Shahan said.
North Carolina 4-H moved into action after a 4-H’er saw a news image of a 4-H stuffed bear in the rubble of a home.
"It goes to show you that one person can make a difference," Williams said.
North Carolina 4-H’ers are not the only ones who opened their hearts to Louisiana hurricane victims. 4-H members from 46 states also donated to the Louisiana 4-H Foundation’s hurricane relief effort.
"It really shows that even though we are miles apart and in different states that we do have a common bond and that 4-H and the 4-H clover is that," Williams said.
For more information on the 4-H youth development program in Louisiana, which is operated across the state by the LSU AgCenter, go to www.lsuagcenter.com.