Volunteers to rebuild houses in Terrebonne, Lafourche damaged by Ida
Two groups of young volunteers are working in Terrebonne and Lafourche this week to help residents rebuild their homes after Hurricane Ida destroyed them.
Crews from the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps are working with Catholic charities to partially dismantle hurricane-damaged homes so they can be fully repaired.
Team members are dispatched daily to a damaged home where they dismantle ceiling tiles, liners and wall insulation that have been damaged or infected with mold. They are then replaced with fresh materials that allow displaced owners to resettle.
AmeriCorps volunteer Joseph Sheffield said he spent most of Saturday clearing out a damaged home in Galliano as part of the federal 18-to-26 program.
“We travel across the country doing all kinds of service work,” Sheffield said. “We have been here in Houma for 11 days working with a separate AmeriCorps group that will be here for the next two months. We have been doing clean up and gutting like removing insulation, drywall and plywood from the inside the house is hard work.
Although the work can be grueling, Sheffield said it was worth it to help those in need.
“I love helping people,” said Sheffield, who is from Texas. “It’s good to give a helping hand to the victims of natural disasters who are suffering. Being from the Gulf Coast myself, I have faced hurricanes before. While many Americans may have already forgotten about Hurricane Ida, there is still a lot of work to do.
Approximately 2,100 young adults from across the country participate in AmeriCorps each year. The southern region campus is in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and the other campuses are in Sacramento, California, Aurora, Colorado, and Vinton, Iowa.
In return for their service, AmeriCorps workers receive $6,345 to help pay for their education or to pay off existing student loans. They also receive a small living allowance, room and board, and leadership development, the group said.
AmeriCorps member William DeFilippo said he made the trip to Houma from Virginia and immediately fell in love with the area.
“I came to AmeriCorps because I wanted to help someone other than myself,” he said. “As far as this project is concerned, I found myself very much in love with this community and this environment. I like trees very much, I like insects and reptiles, water and mist. I met some really nice people here and had some really cool conversations about alligators and nature trials. Houma itself is a very cool place.
– Editor Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.