Hand It On: Carole Spruell and Catholic Charities

Hand It On: Carole Spruell and Catholic Charities
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Everyone remembers all the flooding of the past month or two. Especially hard hit were parts of Livingston, Ascension, Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes.

The Red Cross does an amazing job at being first to arrive to give assistance, offer shelter, food, drinking water, and transportation assistance. The Red Cross along with the Salvation Army and other non-profit organizations assist with clothing needs too.

Once insurance claims have been settled, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) steps in to assist with disaster relief in the form of financial assistance for rebuilding.

However, not all will qualify for FEMA assistance for one reason or another. Additionally, insurance may not cover replacement or rebuilds in some cases. For instance, if it is determined the damage was done by flooding and a homeowner did not have a specific flood insurance policy, then a homeowners insurance policy may not pay for repairs.

In those instances, homeowners must cover the rebuilding costs themselves or rely on the generosity of others for assistance.

That's where organizations such as Catholic Charities of Baton Rouge come into play.

Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Baton Rouge has been in existence since 1964. I asked Carol Spruell to tell me what Catholic Charities does.

"What don't we do is probably a better question," she responded with a smile. "We've got programs that serve people in need. We also engage the community to help us with our work and forward our mission in the community to make it a better place to live."

And specifically with regard to damage by recent flooding, Carol said Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge has received numerous requests for assistance from homeowners who, for whatever reason, still needed help beyond what FEMA or their insurance company could provide.

"Now we're into that long-term recovery phase," Carol explained. "It's going to take the community's help to get these people back to where they were before the flood waters rose. We depend on donations for this to help people actually do the repair work, to buy sheetrock and flooring and the other things that they're going to need to repair their home."

That's where WAFB's Hand It On program comes in. I surprised Carol at her office on Acadian Thruway.

"Well, kinda get you started a little bit,"  I told Carol in the Catholic Charities lobby as I approached her with three $100 bills. "Our Hand It On program wants to help with this rebuilding of the community through Catholic Charities. Here's $300."

"Awesome! Thank you Johnny," a very elated Carol Spruell responded on behalf of Catholic Charities. "We'll be able to get started and this will go a long way to getting those repairs started."

And Carol reminded me that every little bit helps. If you would like to help in the rebuilding efforts, visit the Catholic Charities of the Dioceses of Baton Rouge's website where they've set up an easy way for you to make a tax deductible donation online. All cash donations stay right here in South Louisiana.

Like Carol said, it's going to take the community's help. We've been there before and we'll be there again... of all faiths.

To nominate someone for WAFB's Hand It On program, send an e-mail to HandItOn@wafb.com. Make sure to include your contact information, especially your phone number.

Copyright 2016 WAFB. All rights reserved.