BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After the federal government denied a request for disaster assistance in areas hit hard by tornadoes in February, Belle Rose is desperate for other forms of relief.
One effort is underway to help them rebuild while offering a bit of fun in the process.
In Dorseyville Park, just down the street from where a tornado devastated parts of Belle Rose, with the crack of a bat, Juan Thomas and other residents are hoping to help those who've lost everything.
"I'm not just standing by being a witness to what's going on. I'm actually getting my hands dirty to actually give them something back," Thomas said.
Because FEMA assistance may not come to Assumption Parish, Thomas got straight to work organizing a charity softball tournament.
"It's a lot of hard but when the day of the event actually comes it's beneficial to you as a person and the community as a whole," he added.
At just ten dollars a person, Thomas said the money raised at the tournament won't be what FEMA would have given but it's a step in the right direction for those hardest hit by this storm.
More than six teams are participating and the money raised will go directly to those affected.
"Every little bit counts," Ron Alcorn said. "Every little bit helps and people are very receptive to that and are very thankful of that."
State Senator Troy Brown said while the state is working to appeal the federal government's decision, regardless of the outcome the community and its residents will rebuild.
"It's going to be an ongoing effort," he said. "This community will not sit back and wait for a handout or wait for help just from the state as well as the federal government. If it's a worse-case scenario and nothing happens on the federal or state level, I can assure you.... if you come here in about another year or so this community will be rebuilt 100 percent."
The tournament will continue Sunday beginning at 1p.m.
Event organizers say they'll start distributing the money raised beginning April 10.