LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -The recent change in weather has put many things into perspective as the area continues to recover from the 2020 hurricane season.
One of the most vulnerable during these cooler months is the homeless population and many of the places where the homeless could seek refuge are under repairs from the storms.
With concerns about the homeless population and COVID-19 growing following Hurricanes Laura and Delta, we checked in with Water’s Edge Church to get an update on their mission to still serve the homeless while recovering from the storms.
“Two storms in a row really caught all of us off guard...it was difficult...but we’ve learned a lot of lessons,” said Pastor Tony Bourque.
Lessons that Water’s Edge Church is putting to use to continue serving the homeless population even amidst the devastation.
“We just want to be helpful,” said Bourque. “That’s been my definition of ministry since I started. It could be physical, food, relationships, or help with mental health...but we exist to help first.”
Bourque says since the storms, the work to get the church back up and running has been slow but steady.
“Right now, we’re providing what we can for the homeless. I expect us to be back in full swing in about 3 months.”
During these winter months, he says the services they provide to the homeless are vital and it’s been a challenge not being able to provide shelter when so many in the area need it most.
“Our area is unique in the fact that there’s always going to be for those few months every year that everything could be devastated again.”
Pre hurricane, the church was in talks with the city to provide more long-term shelter for the homeless population...conversations that Spell says will continue into this new year.
“We’ve partnered with some people that want to build a shelter on our land,” Bourque said. “Those are long-term plans that we plan on getting rolling and that may actually start pretty soon.”
While recovery is far from over...
In the meantime, with the help of donations...the church continues to host its food pantry to meet the needs of the community.
“For most people, showing love helps them find peace,” said Bourque. “We’ve found that people from all different walks of life are eager to show love right now because they need some peace in their heart.”
Water’s Edge plans to host its next food pantry on Sunday, January 31st at 11 a.m.
Their last pantry day in 2020 fed more than 2,000 people.