(09/21/20) MANSURA, La. — Avoyelles Parish 4-H Club members and volunteers worked to help people affected by Hurricane Laura.
“Avoyelles 4-H’ers were ready and able to help,” said Monique Mayeux, LSU AgCenter 4-H agent.
They went to work at sewing machines to craft pillows for children and to gather donated items.
“We decided to begin collecting items for 4-H members affected in neighboring parishes and sew cozy pillows for evacuees,” she said. “We wanted to have something to have our kids work on that would be a comfort. We knew we would have an influx of kids who had lost everything.”
Police officers, the Louisiana National Guard and the state Department of Child and Family Services distributed the items to evacuees as they checked in at the State Evacuation Shelter next to the LSUA campus.
The donated items and 125 pillows served as icebreakers for police and guard members. “They were excited to have a positive way to interact with the kids,” Mayeux said.
After they arrived at the shelter, the evacuees were provided accommodations at several locations.
4-H Club members were joined by retired 4-H agents in the pillow project. And 4-H agent Grant Rabalais participated and learned how to sew.
Mayeux said donated items included cleaning supplies for the evacuees to take with them when they return to their homes.
AgCenter agents put out the call on social media, and 4-H members gathered the material.
“All of our 4-H clubs from all 10 parishes in our region did that. We had retired agents, grandparents and quilting groups from other parishes contact us to send donations of supplies and pillows,” Mayeux said.
Similar projects are likely to be undertaken by 4-H’ers to help with the hurricane recovery.
“Our 4-H’ers learned valuable citizenship skills by doing,” she said. “We were able to see how a small act can blossom into so much more and we as a community learned that our community is truly ‘Louisiana Strong,’ and 4-H really does grow here.”
Kara Hubbard, an Avoyelles Parish 4-H’er, sews a pillow for Hurricane Laura evacuees. LSU AgCenter photo
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture