(Shreveport, LA) – United Way of Northwest Louisiana (UWNWLA) has raised $6,000 to provide Hurricane Ida evacuees with emergency assistance through the United for NWLA Fund, UWNWLA’s emergency response and disaster relief fund. The dollars will be divided for United Way’s in south Louisiana, such as St. John United Way, United Way of South Louisiana, and United Way of St. Charles.

UWNWLA initially launched the United for NWLA Fund in 2020 to assist families and individuals impacted financially by the effects of COVID-19. The fund later expanded to aid families displaced to Northwest Louisiana due to Hurricane Laura. UWNWLA was able to collect these funds thanks to the help of the community, UWNWLA, and Zion Baptist Church located on Hollywood Avenue in Shreveport.

Several community partners emerged to help UWNWLA in their efforts to aid Hurricane Ida evacuees. UWNWLA held a donation drive for local shelters, and Caddo Parish Public Schools allowed UWNWLA to use Arthur Circle Elementary School as the designated drop-off location. Shreve Memorial Library, LSU Health Shreveport, and LSU Ochsner Shreveport also stepped up and partnered with UWNWLA to collect urgent donation items. Shreve Memorial Library held collection drives at their many branches, and LSU Health and Ochsner had an internal collection drive where their large staff provided several items.  

“We are so grateful for the community’s generosity during this vulnerable time for so many,” said Louise Droddy, UWNWLA’s Director of 211 & President of Northwest Louisiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). “211 has also played a significant role in aiding communities all over Louisiana by connecting individuals and families with urgent resources like shelter information and disaster relief assistance. However, without the help of our neighbors, we would not have been able to provide these vital resources.” To date, United Way’s health and human service helpline, 211, has answered more than 28,000 calls regarding Hurricane Ida.

The general population shelter on Jewella and the Special Needs & Medical Shelter at the Bossier Civic Center have officially closed. Thanks to the community’s assistance, the shelters received an overwhelming amount of donations. Ten pallets of donations were transported to Grand Isle, Louisiana, as the area has just reopened for damage assessment. These items will assist residents in need of supplies, clothing, water, and other urgent needs. Trip Thompson, a contractor from Ruston, Louisiana, volunteered his time to transport the pallets last week. Some donations that were collected are being stored at the Jewella shelter in the event of future hurricanes or other natural disasters.

UWNWLA seeks to provide disaster relief resources to aid vulnerable individuals and families in crisis through Louisiana 211. To learn more about 211, please visit https://unitedwaynwla.org/2-1-1/.