Baton Rouge woman coordinates laundry services for linemen

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — Babette Debarros began helping linemen in her neighborhood by offering them coffee or breakfast while they worked on restoring power. Now, with the help of 30 other women, she has coordinated a laundry service for the linemen as well.

“I fully expected to be gutting houses and picking up branches,” said Debarros.

Through the Nextdoor app, Debarros found like-minded volunteers who also wanted to help linemen in the area during this time. Volunteer Lisa Stansbury said when she saw the Nextdoor post she knew this was something she could help with.

“I’ve been in this neighborhood so long, we haven’t always had power after every storm. Some of us have gone weeks and months without power, so when we got power back within 3-4 days all my friends were like, ‘thank a lineman’… I said I would and then this text came through,” said Stansbury.  

The volunteers said it’s been a smooth process thus far, that they now have more volunteers than laundry and are now asking for more loads.

“It’s been a group collective effort, I think it gives the women in this area that are either retired or work at home a way to give back to the community,” said Debarros.

Retired Registered Nurse Yvonne Roy said she’s thrilled to be a part of a group that makes her feel like she’s doing something worthwhile.

“We come early in the morning, pick up a load or two and I can wash it and bring it back,” said Roy.

Pick up is at 6:30 p.m., fresh laundry is delivered at 6:30 in the morning.

“Each person signs off and when they come back to deliver they just highlight off their names and just put it in the corresponding basket,” said Debarros.

Debarros said it’s been a blessing helping those who help us.

“They’ve left their families, their homes, to come here and help us, and yes, they’re getting paid but they didn’t have to do it,” said Debarros.

If you want to help or want to use this service, Babette Debarros can be contacted via text at 225-936-3740.

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