Flood victims in St. Helena Parish move into new home thanks to volunteers

Flood victims in St. Helena Parish move into new home thanks to volunteers
Ronnie and Jeanette Hoffman have a new home, all thanks to volunteers, after their home in St. Helena Parish flooded in 2016. (Source: WAFB)

ST. HELENA PARISH, La. (WAFB) - More than two years ago, WAFB introduced viewers to a couple down on their luck. Like many, they hit a few bumps in the road after their decades old home flooded.

Family living with bare essentials since 2016 move in new home thanks to volunteers

“We home... we home."

To understand this pure joy, you’ve got to know where Jeanette and Ronnie Hoffman came from.

“You gonna’ carry me over the threshold?” asked Jeanette.

“You gonna’ have to sit on my lap,” Ronnie said.

This couple has been living with the bare essentials since WAFB featured them in a story after their home flooded in August of 2016. It’s a good thing folks in Louisiana know how to lend a helping hand, otherwise, the Hoffmans might not be walking into a brand new home.

Ronnie and Jeanette Hoffman's home flooded in August of 2016.
Ronnie and Jeanette Hoffman's home flooded in August of 2016. (Source: WAFB)
Ronnie and Jeantte Hoffman's new home in St. Helena Parish.
Ronnie and Jeantte Hoffman's new home in St. Helena Parish. (Source: WAFB)

“Look at my kitchen. I got a kitchen. I got a kitchen!” Jeanette said.

Jeanette Hoffman checks out the kitchen in her new home.
Jeanette Hoffman checks out the kitchen in her new home. (Source: WAFB)
Jeanette Hoffman hugs a family member as she sees her new home for the first time.
Jeanette Hoffman hugs a family member as she sees her new home for the first time. (Source: WAFB)

“The people in Louisiana always come together to help each other,” said Dawna Bailey, a social worker.

Bailey spearheaded this effort. She’s Ronnie’s social worker. In March, Bailey convinced them it was time to move and get help.

“And then the work started, and they didn’t want to leave because this is all in the world that they own,” Bailey said.

“They got the ball rolling. It took me three and a half years,” Ronnie said.

The Hoffmans have sort of been forced to piecemeal their home together until today, but now, they have everything they’ve ever dreamed of.

“Oh, look at all the cabinet space,” Jeanette said.

Jeanette Hoffman is excited about the amount of cabinet space in her new home.
Jeanette Hoffman is excited about the amount of cabinet space in her new home. (Source: WAFB)

“I was shocked and amazed because I pretty much gave up hope,” said Ronnie. “I prayed a lot. Didn’t seem like I was going nowhere, but it did work.”

It’s clear someone heard that cry for help. That someone turned out to be a whole bunch of people in the community.

“They didn’t even know who they were helping, they just wanted to help,” Bailey said.

Dawna Bailey, Ronnie's social worker, embraces Jeanette Hoffman as they walk through the couple's new home for the first time.
Dawna Bailey, Ronnie's social worker, embraces Jeanette Hoffman as they walk through the couple's new home for the first time. (Source: WAFB)

Everything in the home, from Whiskey’s dog bed to the dishes, was donated.

“My mama always said never give up,” Ronnie said. It’s a good thing he kept that faith because he just had a birthday, and all he has is a simple request: to keep spreading the love and lifting up your neighbor.

Ronnie Hoffman
Ronnie Hoffman (Source: WAFB)

“I think this is the best birthday present I ever had in my whole life,” Ronnie said. “Bless all them people. And I hope people bless other people.”

All the home furnishings were donated, but the house was built by Restore Louisiana. The couple says they plan on having a housewarming party in their new home.

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