ROBERT, LA (WAFB) - A church that opened its doors to help others recovering from the flood has been blindsided by thieves.
Crossgate Church in Robert, just east of Hammond, was also hit by high water. They are now struggling to replace a key piece of recovery equipment while trying to rebuild.
The curbsides in Robert look much like many neighborhoods in south Louisiana. An estimated 10,000 homes in Tangipahoa Parish were damaged in recent floods. Crossgate Church took in a foot of water, but that has not stopped Senior Pastor Louis Husser and his church community from serving others.
"In this one room, there's about 8,500 square feet and, as you can tell, we are using every square inch of it," Husser said.
Donations from as far away as Chicago have been d ropped at the church. While volunteers worked for a few days distributing the items to the public, they are also putting in some hard labor to make more than $300,000 in repairs to the Family Life Center and the church sanctuary. It involves tearing apart the main stage and rebuilding the walls around it.
"Getting the insulation and sheetrock out has been a monumental task," Husser said.
Pastor Husser said they were on the move when, three days into recovery, they realized a key piece of equipment they had been using to clear 60 years' worth of church possessions was missing.
"Here we are looking around ready to load trucks, moving at debris and all we had was the bucket and where are our forks, and we realized someone must have stolen them," Husser said.
Husser said another church was generous enough to donate another set so that Crossgate could continue its efforts. However, the church would like the thieves to return its set so that they can bless another church community also struggling to help others.
"We are just hoping they will realize the error of their way and maybe their conscious will bother them and they will bring them back," Husser said. "We love them and praying for them and will be glad to show them the love of Christ when they bring our forks back."
Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call Crimestoppers Tangipahoa at 1-800-554-5245.
Anyone who would like to donate to the church's recovery fund can visit the church's website.