Webster Parish will be collecting donations for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico through Oct. 10.
The Webster Parish Police Jury announced the partnership with the governor’s office of homeland security on Wednesday following the launch of a statewide drive.
“The Webster Parish Police Jury Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is humbled to participate in this coordinated effort by the governor’s office,” said Jenny Reynolds, parish director of GOHSEP. “Our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico need us; and the people of Webster Parish stand ready to show our love along with every parish in the state.”
Primary needs for the driver are diapers, new bottles with nipples and bottle liners, diaper cream, powder infant formula, baby wipes and feminine hygiene products. All items should be in their original packaging and unopened. Sturdy boxes no larger than 20×20 or smaller than 16×16 may also be donated.
The Joe Leblanc Food Pantry will serve as the collection point in Minden. Donations will be accepted between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at its 814 Constable St. location. Donors are asked to call 318-465-6726 for drop-offs after 5 p.m.
Items may also be dropped off at The United Way between the hours of 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Friday at their 202 Miller St. office.
“On behalf of the Jury, I’d like to personally thank Joe Leblanc Food Bank, Christian Church of Minden, and United Way for immediately offering their project management assistance and their facilities to make this effort possible,” Reynolds said.
Monetary donations can also be made to Relief Missions of Louisiana via PayPal using the email firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.peacelovemissions.org. The funds will be used to purchase the needed items and delivered to donation sites.
Any churches, businesses or organizations collecting items are asked to drop off bulk donations on Oct. 3 or Oct. 10 to meet the Louisiana National Guard pickup deadlines. Boxes should be organized by commodity, taped only on the bottom to accommodate easy preflight inspection, and labeled boldly with the box’s contents.
Maria’s hurricane force winds whipped through the island last week and knocked out most forms of communication, while heavy rain caused severe flooding and has put a major dam at risk of failure. Thousands have been left without power or access to basic survival provisions like food, water and medication.
“We must work together during these difficult times to help those in great need,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Puerto Rican officials say the island is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis if help does not arrive soon. I am asking everyone in Louisiana who can to once again support those facing tremendous adversity. We know how difficult the long road to recovery can be. We are looking for basic items to help the people of Puerto Rico begin that process.”
Gov. Edwards also released a video encouraging all Louisianans who are able to participate in the donation drive.
The donation drive may continue in the future with additional items should that support be needed.
Donation organizers ask that donations are limited to items on the list to make shipping donations easier and speed the delivery of items to the people of Puerto Rico.
“It is an honor to be part of this humanitarian mission and come to the assistance of the people of Puerto Rico,” said Major General Glenn H. Curtis, Adjutant General of the Louisiana National Guard in a statement. “The outpouring of support Louisiana received after Katrina was tremendous and life changing. This mission lies at the very core of the beliefs and principles we uphold and defend.”