Hands of Help Volunteers Give Back in New Orleans

For her birthday, Laura Taylor wanted to give back to her mother’s birthplace — so she and her husband, John, signed up for the Washington Conference’s mission trip to New Orleans, La.

In early October, the Taylors joined a small group of volunteers from western Washington who returned for a second time since 2007 to help with long-term hurricane recovery projects.

“Coming to my mom's birthplace is a dream of my life and helping the people here is such a blessing as they are so thankful,” says Laura, who attends the Graham (Wash.) Church. “Even after four years since Hurricane Katrina, there’s still a lot to do.”

The Washington chapter of Adventist Community Services worked in collaboration with the North American Division and the National Association of Katrina Evacuees to identify a 1,700-square-foot house to renovate. A grant from the William and Gladys Jenson Memorial Fund covered part of the mission trip expense.

While the home looked “normal” on the outside, the inside was completely gutted after floodwaters nearly reached the ceiling. In a five-day period, volunteers installed wall and ceiling insulation and sheetrock, worked on landscaping, built a backyard fence, and replaced the bathroom.

“It’s been an incredible experience to be here,” Laura says. “If you have a chance to do something like this, I say go!”

December 01, 2009 / Washington Conference

Heidi Martella, Washington Conference associate communication director