The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members help after Hurricane Ida

MADISON – After destruction from Hurricane Ida, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traveled to southeast Louisiana to help storm victims.

These individuals volunteered their time and traveled at their own expense, some even camping in tents around the Helping Hands command center, according to Charity Stratton. Stratton accompanied members of the Madison Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ.

More than 295,500 Helping Hands volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ went to Louisiana to help. From that number, more than 200 volunteers live in the Madison and Huntsville vicinity.

In their trademark yellow shirts and vests, Helping Hands volunteers cleared debris, removed fallen trees and branches, performed mold remediation and brought hope to the Louisiana residents.

The Church of Jesus Christ sent truckloads of supplies for multiple weekends — wheelbarrows, chainsaws, tarps, tools, water and generators.

“In the recent past there have been many opportunities to come together, in the spirit of unity, and provide service and relief for those who have had their lives turned upside-down through no fault of their own. Many of whom are left with very few material things and are starting over,” Kuenn Drake said. Drake is President of the Madison Stake of the Church.

Drake asked local congregations to give freely of their time in this effort. “These service events rarely come at a convenient time. But notwithstanding the sacrifice, the blessings that are received as we render aid to those in need are worthy of our time and efforts,” Drake said.

Helping Hands volunteers have assisted in recovery after numerous hurricanes – from Katrina to Sally.

In recent years, the Izatt family of Madison traveled several weekends to four sites for hurricane cleanup across the Southeast. “It makes (my kids) realize what they have in life, and helping others is so important. You can be miracles in other people’s lives,” Mariann Izatt said.

Why did Mariann Izatt want her family to join in the disaster cleanup? “As volunteers, they provide manpower to homeowners who are often overwhelmed,” Mariann said.

One homeowner “was so grateful that we were there and helping him. Whenever people are like that, why wouldn’t you want to come help again?” daughter Jenny Izatt said.

Mariann felt good to work with several faith groups, all serving together. “We had someone call us a miracle, because we showed up at the same time as another faith group. That’s the cool thing to see. All the faith groups were helping, and we all worked together,” Mariann said.

“Without exception . . . in disaster relief, the experience will be marked with new friendships and a greater appreciation for our own blessings,” Drake said.

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