BELLE ROSE, LA (WAFB) - Devastation caused by Mother Nature can leave people feeling helpless after a storm clears and all that's left is debris. For the residents of Belle Rose, the fear was magnified after learning that FEMA will not provide disaster assistance to the area.
Residents of Belle Rose are working to rebuild after a tornado ripped through the area on Feb. 23, 2016. The Governor's Office of Homeland Security is in the process of appealing to the federal government for disaster assistance. Until something changes, residents will have to work together to get life back to normal.
One former resident of the community decided to take immediate action to try and provide some relief for those who are struggling.
"I read that FEMA wasn't going to help," explained Juan Thomas, now a Baton Rouge resident. "I decided to do something because I'm from that community. My grandparents lost their home along with a few neighbors. I know a lot of people in the community."
Doing what he can, Thomas, 30, organized a charity softball tournament, which will take place Saturday, April 2 in the Dorseyville Park on Hwy. 70.
"I don't like to see people struggle, so I decided to use my platform as a personal trainer to do something about it," he said. "Even if it's not a lot, It's something that will help those families now."
About 6 teams have registered so far. The entry fee is $10 per person.
"It's a charity event, but it's also a day for families to come out and have fun," he noted. "It's a price that's affordable to everybody."
Along with the games, there will be food vendors, music and other fun events.
"It's a day for people to have fun and relax," he said. "It will be a day to forget about what happened."
The event gets started at noon and will continue through the evening. For more information contact Juan Thomas at (205) 310-4461.