As Hurricane Laura made landfall on Southwestern Louisiana, junior Taylor Haggard and her sister, freshman Grace Haggard, were horrified. As natives to the area, they could not stop thinking about the impacts to family members, friends, and the community they had grown up in. After praying about it, the sisters approached Ms. Simno with an idea. They wanted to organize a drive at Mount Carmel to collect supplies to help those in need in Lake Charles, DeQuincy, and their hometown, Moss Bluff. Ms. Simno enthusiastically agreed and the drive kicked off.

The Mount Carmel Academy community is especially receptive to the needs of hurricane victims, after the school was submerged in 10 feet of floodwater almost exactly 15 years ago as a result of Hurricane Katrina.  And so it began. Seniors were asked to bring in toiletries and feminine items; juniors were tasked with batteries and first aid items; sophomores shopped for pet food and baby supplies; freshmen brought in bleach, masks, soap, and gloves; and eighth graders gathered dry goods such as clothing, towels, wash cloths, sheets, and non-perishable food items. When Mount Carmel students are asked to help, they take it seriously. A few days later, the lobby of the Duplantis Gym was overflowing with boxes and bags of supplies.

“After the hurricane hit, I reached out to many of my friends and family and grieved with them that the hometown where we were born and raised was destroyed,” Taylor said. “It went from a beautiful city to a catastrophic mess, which broke not only our hearts, but my family’s, my friends’, and many other people who live in the Lake Charles area.” 

The sisters were touched by the volume of supplies donated. “It really puts into perspective how much of a sisterhood we are,” Taylor said. “Even though they do not know these people, they are still willing to help which shows how kind and compassionate they are to their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.”

The Haggard family rented a moving truck and will be transporting the donations to two churches and the Lake Charles Civic Center over Labor Day weekend.

Taylor and Grace are quick to point out that it’s really about something bigger. “This is not about us,” Taylor explained. “This is about the people who suffered from Hurricane Laura and are dealing with the destructive outcome. This is about doing what God calls us to do, which is to serve those in need and be a helping hand.”



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