BATON ROUGE, La. – Hurricane Ida is the fifth strongest hurricane ever to hit the U.S. mainland. Several local organizations are already on the ground in Louisiana while others are on the way.
The CEO and co-founder of Operation BBQ Relief said Ida making landfall Sunday was their call to action.
“Hopefully the storm will have passed, and we’ll come in behind it,” Stan Hays said.
Six hours into his trip from Kansas City to Louisiana, Hay mapped out how they’re going to help after Ida rips through New Orleans.
“We rolled the house, we are bringing basically every piece of equipment we have,” Hays said, “because we’re anticipating this could be a catastrophic event.”
He hopes to offer 50,000 meals a day. To do that, they need about 125 volunteers a day.
“If you can give five days or more, we will fly you into the area,” Hays said. “No BBQ skills necessary, just a servant’s heart who wants to help is what we need. People that are willing to work hard in hot weather.”
“We definitely see that beating heart expand during time of disaster,” Red Cross Assist. Dir. for External Relations.
Woody said it was bumper to bumper traffic – people fleeing to safety, while they headed into the storm.
“That always tends to make you stop in your tracks for a second and realize, you know, this is real,” Woody said. “People are trying to get out of harm’s way.”
A dozen volunteers from the Kansas City metro are already on the ground in Baton Rouge.
“I know that those Kansas City numbers are going to go up significantly in the next couple of days,” Woody said.
They’ve been prepping “safety shelters” – place with food, water and rest for people who just lost everything in the storm.
On top of 150mph wind gusts, Wood said COVID creates an additional challenge.
“Simply because shelters need to be spaced out further,” Woody said.
Many of these families said this feeling is familiar.
“There’s some heightened anxieties,” Woody said.
Hurricane Katrina hit 16 years ago to the day.
“That’s always in the back of folks minds,” Woody said, “that kind of weighs on people as they’re looking at the storm roll through and hearing the predictions.”
Woody knows these families are resilient and counts on this country to come together during this time of crisis.
“Louisiana residents are no strangers to hurricanes, and they bounce back,” Woody said. “People get through it, they band together, they work through it together and people from across the country from all different organizations they’re ready to help.