Sunday, September 11, marked four weeks since historic flooding decimated areas of Louisiana and displaced many families. Estimates indicate that close to 508,000 people were impacted by this rain event and of those 35,553 were children under 5.
When the Junior League of New Orleans set out just over a month ago to assist those affected by historic flooding in South Louisiana, we could never have anticipated the awe-inspiring response to our call to action. Donations from around the country have amounted to over 334,000 diapers, over $64,000 in donations, and over $14,000 in gift cards as well as other donations. All of these items spent little time at Headquarters and were immediately dispensed to impacted areas. JLNO flood relief supplies have been delivered to New Iberia, Youngsville, Lafayette, Denham Springs, St. Amant, Gonzales, Baton Rouge, Paulina, French Settlement, Bogalusa, and other areas along the I-12 corridor. We have partnered with the United Way, Catholic Charities, Junior League of Baton Rouge Diaper Co-Op, Junior League of Lafayette, What You Give Will Grow Foundation, Louisiana Flood Outreach-New Orleans Cooks and other groups to get these relief supplies out.
Our members witnessed the tears of relieved mothers who received diapers or other baby supplies, the gratitude in the eyes of people who received donated gift cards, and heard the many thank yous and gotten the numerous hugs from appreciative recipients of donated items. Most of the people seeking aid were women trying to hold their families and children together in the chaos of this disaster. As an organization of women seeking to Advance the Wellbeing of Women, JLNO made a difference while also raising awareness of how necessary diapers were to families in crisis. Many people have been surprised to learn that diapers are classified with alcohol and tobacco and are, therefore, prohibited from being purchased with supplemental government assistance, including disaster relief funds.
These donations have been significant, but so are the needs. Our experience with Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath taught us that recovery and rebuilding can take months if not years. With your support, we will continue to assist our neighbors, especially through our Diaper Bank. We are beginning the transition from helping with immediate needs to supporting the agencies who will be providing long-term assistance to those rebuilding their lives. We have the largest diaper bank in Southeast Louisiana and as such may need to help in geographic areas we did not anticipate when the League year started. Please continue to support and promote the efforts of the JLNO Diaper Bank so that we have the resources to meet not only the needs of our immediate community but the ongoing needs.
We appreciate your belief in the Junior League as a trustworthy, fiscally efficient organization that best knows how to mobilize its volunteer base and match community needs with resources. We will use 100% of your donations and any other monetary contributions for our community projects, not any administrative or operational expenses. The Junior League always multiplies what we receive. Not only can we leverage buying power for deep discounts on diapers, wipes, and other items, we amplify our positive impact with over 2,200 members who invest over 45,000 volunteer hours in the community.
Again, we are grateful for your generosity and hope that you will continue to support the Junior League of New Orleans.