Boutte college providing hub for hurricane relief 

River Parishes Community College in Boutte.

It wasn’t that long ago that River Parishes Community College officially opened the doors of its Boutte campus for students, but recently the site’s importance has extended – it’s become a significant hub for Hurricane Ida relief efforts.  

One of the most recent instances came last week as United Way of St. Charles and Ochsner Health partnered to host a supply distribution event at the campus, with more than 500 cars lining up to receive six pallets filled with supplies to help with recovery from Ida. The event also featured a mobile care unit provided by Ochsner that provided COVID-19 testing and vaccination. 

Among the supplies distributed were cleaning supplies, water, paper towels, batteries, hygiene kits, diapers, wipes and disposable masks. Those supplies came via donations by Ochsner Health, St. Charles Parish Hospital, Zachry Group, Valero Energy and Shell.  

$5,000 worth of chicken sandwiches were also provided to visitors for lunch, courtesy of Southerns Food and Mullin. 

Twenty Ochsner volunteers were on hand to distribute the goods to community residents.  

“At a time when our own United Way Team is ‘playing hurt’ and has been impacted by Ida, I am proud that United Way staff and all of our wonderful volunteers could come together and organize and deliver these distribution events,” said John Dias, Executive Director of United Way of St. Charles. “It’s truly neighbors that have been impacted helping neighbors that have been impacted.” 

Several different groups and/or organizations have been utilizing the site as a base, including Catholic Charities – whose offices were severely damaged in Ida – and RPCC staff. Two volunteer groups have also been living there. A free legal aid office has been established as well for those seeking advice in regards to things like insurance/storm damage claims.  

“They came up big because it gave us a central place where, if any group around the country wanted to donate supplies, we could direct them there,” said Dias. “Instead of asking a group to deliver here on this day or there on that day, we were able to tell people, yes, we are able to accept your donations at 13145 Highway 90 in Boutte right away. It gave us a central place toward many difference purposes.”  

  

 

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