The Benoit family evacuated Cameron Parish in Louisiana the day before Hurricane Laura made landfall. As the storm grew and wobbled east to west, they questioned heading towards Texas or further inland in Louisiana.
“We didn’t know where to go or where the storm would be. We didn’t want to make the wrong choice,” Roy Benoit said.
In the end, they found themselves sleeping in the parking lot of a Walmart outside of Alexandria, huddled in their vehicles. As the storm took aim at the coast, a local sheriff’s deputy awoke the family from their slumber and instructed them to follow him to a Red Cross shelter.
When asked about their experience at the Red Cross shelter, Benoit described the shelter as being pleasant - hot meals, a place to lay his head, and a safe place his entire family could stay together.
“This is heaven compared to where we were sleeping before,” he said through tear-filled eyes.
Roy’s wife Carolyn, daughter Bethany and four grandchildren have made fast friends with the other shelter residents. They share socially distanced meals, discuss scripture and swap stories of simpler times. The littlest grandson, Dayson, received the most attention with his tiny dimples and contagious, shining smile.
“By gods help we are saved. Like everyone else we didn’t know what would happen but we are okay. We have our wonderful beautiful little family and I don’t ever want someone else to lose theirs.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The Benoit family are just several of thousands of people in the affected states forced to leave their homes. Here are three ways you can support those impacted by Hurricane Laura.
- The Red Cross will be providing support for weeks to come. You can make a difference in the lives of people impacted by Hurricane Laura. Visit redcross.org, call 800-RED-CROSS or text the word LAURA to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster. This includes providing food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support and other assistance. Ensure your donation helps people affected by Hurricane Laura by choosing that option on redcross.org/donate or 800-RED-CROSS.
- We encourage eligible blood donors in parts of the country unaffected by the storm to give blood or platelets to help ensure a sufficient blood supply. Prior to landfall, the Red Cross pre-positioned additional blood products to ensure hospitals are stocked to weather this dangerous storm and its impacts.
- If you have the time, you can make a significant impact as a Red Cross volunteer. Review our most urgently needed volunteer positions here: http://redcross.org/volunteertoday.