For Rosie Williams, the bags and boxes of donated hurricane relief supplies in her garage are a lot more than five loaves of bread and two fish, but they will indeed feed a multitude of people still living together in a Terrebonne Parish, La., storm shelter more than a month after Hurricane Ida upended their lives.
Williams was brought to tears as she thanked the outpouring of generosity from people from Amite County to Tylertown who donated supplies.
The Liberty resident, who once lived in the southern Louisiana Parish near where Ida roared ashore as a Category 4 hurricane on Aug. 29, recently asked people to drop off supplies at her house. An official at the American Red Cross’ hurricane shelter that’s being operated out of a civic center in Terrebonne Parish was expected to pick up the items Sunday or Monday, Williams said Friday.
“I stepped out on faith because so many people had already donated. I just decided to do this,” she said.
Williams compared her relatively small gesture of putting the word out that she was collecting supplies, coupled with the numerous donations that she’s received in the past week, to the story of Jesus feeding the masses.
“The two little fish and the five loaves of bread, it’s going to serve at least 300 people with all I have,” she said, adding that’s how many people are still staying in the shelter.
Williams said that in recent days she received donations from Trustmark Bank, her neighbors, Liberty Drug Store, Fortinberry Physical Therapy, Vine Bros. Barbecue, Rita Williams, Frances Smith, Ricky Powell of The Moose Store and Viola Mixon Tylertown, among others.
“I could have gotten a lot more if I would have known it was going to take this long” to pick up, she said.
Williams said shelter life is a rough existence.
“It’s so hard. They have no privacy,” she said. “They don’t know when those people are going to go back into their homes.”
Williams said residents could soon be living in FEMA trailers.
She and her husband Earnest lived in Terrebonne Parish for many years before resettling in Amite County, and they’ve weathered their share of hurricanes down there.
“I have worked at many shelters down there. We have never been affected at our home, but when the schools would close down we would go volunteer at those shelters,” she said. “That’s what touched my heart.”
Williams said she’s not looking for any more items to be donated at her house at 3177 Jerusalem Road, but she won’t turn anything down as long as it’s received before the pickup, which would make Saturday a drop dead deadline. “If someone bring something I won’t tun it down but I’m not soliciting anything,” she said.