Lizzie Saunders may have moved out of St. Charles Parish one year ago, but the 15 year old said that she knew she needed to do something to help the parish when she saw the wide-spread destruction brought on by Hurricane Ida.
When she lived here in Luling, Saunders attended J.B. Martin Middle School. And although she now resides in Florida, Saunders said she stays in close contact with her friends from St. Charles Parish.
“At first I was asking them whether or not they were leaving for the storm and then we all talked about it as we watched the news,” Saunders said. “I remember talking to one of my friends and it was kind of later than I usually stay up because I was worried and they were worried that they wouldn’t have any home to go back to … it really freaked me out.”
Luckily most of her friends’ homes escaped serious damage.
“A lot of them were able to return home,” Saunders said. “About a week after the storm I was thinking that I wanted to sell something like wristbands or something to make money for the Cajun Navy or United Way or something.”
While trying to organize that fundraising effort, Saunders said she spoke with a peer who serves in student government at her new school – Lawton Chiles High School.
“He was already planning on doing a food drive, so he took care of most of the logistics,” she said. “I was able to give him a lot of information on what was needed and where good places for the stuff to go would be.”
Saunders pivoted her plan on how to help St. Charles Parish and is now part of a team of students in Florida who is organizing a school supply drive for local students and teachers.
Saunders said the plan is collect supplies – such as pencils, paper, notebooks, masks and hand sanitizer – from October 18-29.
“We’re going to be asking for pretty much anything a student would use … anything that could be used in a school or a classroom,” she said. “Me and my family will drive to Louisiana on October 30 and take care of distributing the stuff to teachers and schools in the parish … we’ll bring as much as we can fit in the car.”
Saunders said she is excited to start advertising the supply drive in her Florida school and community.
“I just feel like it’s the right and least thing I could do,” she said of collecting and delivering items. “There are always people who have it worse than you and sometimes the best thing you can do is help them out … I just want to be able to help as many people as I can.”