Groups take action for Blanchard storm victims

Groups take action for Blanchard storm victims

BLANCHARD, LA (KSLA) - There were sights for sore eyes at Country Aire mobile home park in Blanchard on Tuesday.

Fifty hot meals to fill stomachs after some in the community saw the damage on Facebook.

"The guys out here that had been working the last few days had needed food and we called Brookshire's and they gave us food!" volunteer Tonya Avery said.

A confirmed EF-1 tornado ripped through the park Sunday night.

Authorities report 15 to 20 homes now are unlivable.

"We're just trying to get everything cleaned up and pray that nothing else falls, that nothing else happens," storm victim Janie Fannin said.

Along with the free meals, residents received help with the clean-up from Louisiana Outlaw Militia, a nonprofit that travels the state to aid communities in need.

"We've been putting plastic rolls and tarps on top of the houses, keeping further damage from occurring," militia member Rachel Anderson said. "We try to keep fires going. We try to keep spirits up."

This is the militia's second storm stop after aiding victims of an EF-2 tornado in Rowlett, Texas.

Sunday's storm ate away Stephanie Ecklund's roof.

The militia worked to assess the damage.

"The way they are, this whole roof is going to have to be taken down and replaced," militia member Jesse Daugherty said.

Militia members then worked to seal off any harmful molds from the rest of Ecklund's family.

Members said they will stay as long as needed to help the people of the park.

For Ecklund and the other residents, the helping hand means everything. "They are angels with everything that they've come in and helped with, them talking and they're actually sincere."

It's that spirit of community service that spurs on the volunteers.

"You're a part of a community. Band together," Anderson urged.

Many of the residents of the mobile home park are concerned about the future.

They said their California-based landlord is still asking for lot rent by Jan. 5, a fee many of these families may be unable to pay.

The militia says it's going to need more funds to continue its efforts to help the mobile home park. Members say they've already spent $500 out of pocket to assist the residents.

If you'd like to contribute to their efforts, you can go to their GoFundMe page.

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