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Long Beach School District delivers supplies to hard-hit Louisiana schools

Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 9:55 PM CDT
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LONG BEACH, Miss. (WLOX) - Thanks to the Long Beach School District, teachers and administrators in two Lafourche Parish schools are getting much needed supplies after Hurricane Ida, and it’s just the start of what likely will be a long partnership and a strong friendship.

In the hard-hit Louisiana parish, schools are in need of all the blessings they can get right now, and educators in Long Beach are stepping up to help as much as they are able.

“You could tell that it meant a lot to them that people who understood what they’re going through were willing to reach out,” said Leigh Anne Meador, Long Beach School District communications director.

Officials selected two schools in Lafourche Parish to help: Cut Off Elementary and Golden Meadow Upper Elementary.

“This community is amazing in Long Beach,” Meador said. “We know what it’s like to be wiped off the face of the earth by a storm and wanted to reach out to their neighbors.”

Last week, Meador and social media specialist Kenny Triplet drove a 26-foot moving van stuffed full of supplies to Cut Off. On their way, they saw the overwhelming devastation.

“That area looks like the Gulf Coast looked after Katrina,” she said. “Blue tarps on what people were able to save, lots of mud everywhere, debris piled up, power poles leaning everywhere.”

Luckily, the National Guard, which were stationed at the Cut Off Youth Center, had not yet left. They were happy to help Long Beach unload the cargo.

“One of the things they had said to me earlier or before we got over there was, ‘People think to come to Houma; they think to come to Thibodaux. Nobody ever thinks to come to here and help us,’” said Meador.

That resonated with district officials in Long Beach. After collecting supplies for nearly two weeks, they were handed out Sunday to school employees and their families.

“At Cut Off Elementary, of the 59 employees that they have, only 10 of them have homes,” Meador said.

The quicker the school employees can recover, the quicker they can get children back in school and the quicker everyone heals, said Meador. That’s a lesson learned from Hurricane Katrina.

“It was critical that we get the kids back in school and give them some stability. When the children are safe and the children have stability and some sense of normalcy, the parents are then able to start healing,” she said.

It’s an experience that Meador has benefited from firsthand herself.

“I did lose my home in Katrina,” she said. “I was working at Long Beach School District and we lost one of our elementary schools, and I was involved in our recovery efforts. I’ve been on the other end of this and to be able to pay back, you know, people were so kind to us and to be able to do that for somebody else has been a tremendous blessing.”

There will be another collection drive for the district and an even longer-term effort to connect people in Long Beach with those in Lafourche Parish.

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