Two groups of young volunteers are working in Terrebonne and Lafourche this week to help residents rebuild their homes after Hurricane Ida destroyed them.
Teams from the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps are working with Catholic Charities to partially disassemble homes damaged by the hurricane so they can be fully repaired.
Team members are sent each day to a damaged house where they take down ceiling tiles, siding and wall insulation that have become damaged or infected by mold. They are then replaced with fresh materials that allow displaced homeowners to move back in.
AmeriCorps volunteer Joseph Sheffield said he spent most of Saturday gutting a damaged home in Galliano as part of the federal program for 18 to 26-year-olds.
"We travel around the country doing all sorts of service work," Sheffield said. "We’re down here in Houma for 11 days working with a separate AmeriCorps group which will be here for the next couple of months. We’ve been doing mucking and gutting like removing isolation, drywall and plywood from the interior of the home. It’s some rough work.”
Though the work can be grueling, Sheffield said it was worth it to help people in need.
“I enjoy helping people,” said Sheffield, who is from Texas. “It’s nice to lend a helping hand to victims of natural disasters who are suffering. Being from the Gulf Coast myself, I have dealt with hurricanes before. While a lot of Americans may have already forgotten about Hurricane Ida, there is a lot of work that still must be done.”
About 2,100 young adults all over the country participate in AmeriCorps each year. The Southern Region campus is in Vicksburg, Miss., and the other campuses are in Sacramento, Calif., Aurora, Colo. and Vinton, Iowa.
In exchange for their service, AmeriCorps workers receive $6,345 to help pay for college or to pay back existing student loans. They are also provided with a small living allowance, room and board and leadership development, the group said.
AmeriCorps member William DeFilippo said he made the trip to Houma from Virginia and immediately fell in love with the area.
“I came to AmeriCorps because I wanted to be of use to someone other than myself,” he said. “As far as this project, I found myself very enamored of this community and environment. I like trees a lot, I like bugs and reptiles, water and mist. I’ve met some really cool people down here and have had really cool conversations about gators and nature trials. Houma itself is a very cool place to be.”
— Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.
This article originally appeared on The Courier: Volunteers to rebuild homes in Terrebonne, Lafourche damaged by Ida