Left with a huge tree dangling over her home after Hurricane Laura’s impact, 84-year-old Katherine Powell was displaced from her home in Ouachita Parish because of the extremely unsafe conditions.

Powell’s daughter, Kathy Powell, decided to call United Way NELA 211. She told the team about her mother’s problem, and United Way jumped into action.

Volunteer groups and connections in the community were made in an attempt to find the right organization with the right equipment to help.

Numerous attempts were made in this very difficult case.

That was when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stepped in. After one phone call, United Way was able to mobilize the organization to safely remove Powell’s tree on Saturday morning. She is finally home and as “happy as a clam,” said Kathy Powell.

“Throughout our Hurricane Laura response, the United Way team has prioritized the elderly, persons with medical conditions, and those totally unable to help themselves,” said Janet Durden, President, United Way of Northeast Louisiana.

“It’s so exciting to see our community, as well as these caring volunteers from all over the southern United States, coming together to help our most vulnerable residents. We cannot say ‘thank you’ enough.”

This weekend, approximately 300 volunteers arriving from 40 Latter-Day Saint congregations across Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee began the monumental cleanup effort in their trademark yellow shirts and vests. Volunteers are cleaning debris, performing flood damage mitigation, and tarping roofs. All services are performed at no cost.

Since 1998, Helping Hands volunteers have helped people around the globe whose lives have been affected by natural disasters and other emergencies.

“Our highest priorities in life are to love God and to love our neighbors. That broadly includes neighbors in our own family, our community, our nation, and our world,” said Church President, Russell M. Nelson.

United Way of Northeast Louisiana is grateful that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stepped in and linked arms with their organization to serve a community member in desperate need. 

“We are humbled to know that this organization is so willingly serving our Northeast Louisiana community following Hurricane Laura’s impact,” said Durden.

United Way of Northeast Louisiana has long been committed to ensuring that individuals and families live in a healthy and safe environment.

When communities and organizations come together, the impact multiplies.

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