LAPLACE, La. (WGNO) — The natural disaster relief organization Eight Days of Hope is partnering with Marathon Petroleum Corporation, St. John the Baptist Parish Long Term Recovery Group, and St. John United Way to help people who remain displaced following Hurricane Ida.
It’s been nearly eight months since the hurricane, but FEMA trailers and piles of debris remain a normal scene in Laplace.
Nearly 1,300 volunteers with Eight Days of Hope arrived in St. John Parish on Saturday for their eight-day rebuilding event
“A lot it is a free-for-all,” said Eight Days of Hope team leader Chris Zabrosky. “We come in, we don’t know what’s going on, and we just do as much as we can, and it’s a blitz.”
From painting homes to repairing roofs, the group is hoping to assist 150 homeowners in the parish.
“Up until Saturday morning, all of the debris and everything from the roof that caved in was still in my house,” explained Laplace homeowner Stephen Riley.
On that same day, Saturday, Riley was put into contact with Eight Days of Hope and was able to move inside a FEMA trailer.
“Once they started dealing with it and started contacting people, it moved; it got done,” said Riley.
Marathon Petroleum is footing the bill as part of their “Celebrating Resiliency and a Brighter Tomorrow” campaign.
“Since September of 2021, we’ve provided nearly 2.5 million dollars in investments right here in St. John the Baptist Parish, and this is just one part of it,” said Iman Montgomery, ESG and stakeholder engagement representative for Marathon Petroleum.
According to a spokeswoman for Eight Days of Hope, their mission is clear.
“They not only want to help people rebuild their homes, but we need to be able to give them something that can’t be taken away by storms,” said Chandler Gurly, director of operations for Eight Days of Hope. “We want to give them the hope of Jesus.”
Homeowners are in awe of the volunteers as they continue to hold out hope for normalcy.
“They have been going… I can’t thank them enough,” said Riley.
If you’re in St. John Parish and in need of repairs, visit stjohnrecovery.com.