BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The need for continued assistance for flood victims was highlighted after a free shopping event ran out of available spaces just a couple days after it was first advertised.
"Over 1,000 families have already signed up," explained Cathy Washington, Executive Vice President for the Urban League of Louisiana.
The Red Stick Retail Shop will be a free event for those working to recover from damage caused by the flooding in August. Those who have been approved will be allowed to go to Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge on an assigned day at an assigned time and will be allowed to select from the available items.
"We will be limiting the number of items that each individual can take," Washington explained. "We want to make sure to serve as many people as possible."
The merchandise will include new personal and household items that were donated by manufacturers and retailers. To date, over $3 million in product has been donated to K.I.D.S/Fashion Delivers, a national charity.
"Our relationships with product donors allows us to provide new, essential items to help residents rebuild after the disaster," said Lisa Gurwitch, the president and CEO of K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers.
Although the amount of items donated seems like a lot, it's only a small fraction when considering that well over 100,000 families were impacted by flooding.
"We knew it would go fast, but we had no idea it would go that fast," Washington said when asked if she was surprised by how quickly the available spaces were filled. "It really shows how big the demand is."
The initial radio ads for the event began just one week ago on Wednesday, October 19. By Friday, the spaces were full. However, the Urban League of Louisiana had added spaces to accommodate those who might just show up to the event.
"Because of the demand and all of the calls that we have had, we decided that we cannot allow any walk-ups to [participate in the event]," she said.
In fact, the phone line at WAFB and social media page has also been overwhelmed with questions about the event – most hoping to find a way to be involved.
"What we're going to do is see if additional trucks come in and if they do, we are going to put out an email to everyone who signs up for our email list," Washington noted. "We are hoping to add dates on Monday and Tuesday. If we do, we will send that out in an email."