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Louisiana Leaders: Industry Can Help Those In Path Of Historic Floods

In mid-August, Rouses in Denham Springs was under water. (Photo from Rouses Facebook page)

Last updated on March 25th, 2021 at 07:24 pm

As is the norm when it comes to natural disasters, grocers and others in the industry are wondering what they can do to help those impacted by the historic flooding in Louisiana.

“Over the last 10 days, heavy rains have been falling in South Louisiana but, over the last three to four days, extraordinary amounts of rain have fallen,” J.H. “Jay” Campbell Jr., executive chairman of Associated Grocers Baton Rouge, said Monday morning. “Rainfall has measured in the high teens in inches, to over 2 feet in areas around Baton Rouge, including multiple parishes (counties) throughout South Louisiana and along Interstates I-10 and I-12.

Jay Campbell
Jay Campbell

Rivers, bayous, tributaries, lakes, drainage canals and other bodies of water have exceeded their boundaries, and historic flooding has occurred and is continuing as rivers reach their crest.

“Tens of thousands of families have been displaced, stranded and/or rescued as flood waters rose quickly to dangerous levels. Cars and homes, and other business properties, have been severely damaged or totally destroyed.

Shelters have been opened throughout the affected area in order to try to accommodate those who have no place to stay due to the flooding of their homes, and all are in need of water and food ready to serve and eat—not to mention restroom and shower facilities.”

Campbell says donations can be made directly to the following organizations:

American Red Cross—Baton Rouge/Louisiana Chapter, 225-291-4533

• Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, 225-359-9940

• Society of St. Vincent DePaul—Baton Rouge, 225-925-5255

• Catholic Charities—Diocese of Baton Rouge, 225-924-3900.

Thibodaux-based Rouses was forced to close several of its stores early over the weekend due to the floods, according to the company’s Facebook page. The chain’s Denham Springs store (pictured above) “took in a lot of water.” On Sunday, Rouses called for its Denham Springs team members to call in to verify they were safe.Your safety is our number one priority,” the company told its employees on its Facebook page.

Additionally, all Rouses Markets also are accepting cash donations and donations of non-perishable food items, toiletries and cleaning supplies to help South Louisiana families and communities impacted by the floods. You can also donate online at no-hunger.org/Rouses.

Second Harvest Food Bank will provide emergency assistance in areas across South Louisiana that have been impacted by the unprecedented flooding and together with the Greater Baton Rouge Bank will work to provide food, water and cleaning supplies to families in need.

According to a report Monday morning from The Weather Channel, the floods have killed at least six people in the state. The federal government declared a major disaster in Louisiana on Sunday, while Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a press conference that as many as 10,000 people were in shelters as a result of the widespread flooding. 

Read more about the historic flooding here.

Others helping with relief efforts

In related news, Produce Alliance is joining in the relief efforts spearheaded by Gulf Coast Produce Distributors Inc., a member distributor of Produce Alliance.

Christi Alise, president of Gulf Coast Produce Distributors Inc., said, “This is worse than anyone could ever have imagined. The original flood was the first impact, but now comes the back drift flooding. There are thousands of people currently evacuating from their homes by boat. People are pulling up to the highway and interstate launching boats and driving to houses to find stranded families in the community and rescuing them. We are going to need shelters, food, water, cleaning supplies, etc. for months and months to come. This is just the beginning. Thank you all so much for helping the desperate people in need.”

Produce Alliance, alongside Gulf Coat Produce Distributors Inc., is donating truckloads of fresh produce to families, first responders and others in need in the area. All can participate by making a donation through the Produce Alliance’s foundation to provide fresh essentials to those struggling through this ongoing flood disaster.

All donations made to the PA Foundation will go toward the Gulf Coast’s community relief program, obtaining additional produce, fresh drinking water and other necessities required to help the impacted communities stay healthy during this difficult time.

“It’s in times like these when the Produce Alliance family bands together to support one another. Mike (Alise), Christi and the Gulf Coast team knows too well what it takes to support their community and PA wants to stand by their side. While putting safe fresh produce on plates throughout the country is our day to day mission, Gulf Coast Produce, during Katrina and now, goes above and beyond to put safe fresh produce in the hands of victims,” said Melissa Melshenker Ackerman, EVP of sales for Produce Alliance.

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