LAFOURCHE PARISH, La. (KLFY) – Wednesday, Vermilion Parish Schools donated tens of thousands of dollars to Hurricane Ida victims, but those victims actually returned the favor one year ago.
“When Hurricane Delta hit Vermilion Parish, Lafourche Parish stepped in to help. Now, Vermilion Parish has returned the favor with $33,000.
“It wasn’t just a one school, two school thing. It was a complete Vermilion Parish effort,” Vermilion Parish Schools Superintendent Tommy Byler.
For over a month, all 20 schools in Vermilion Parish have shown their generosity. Through food drives, gift cards, donations, and even a Lafourche Parish spirit week, they collected enough to present $27,736 in cash and checks as well as $5,380 in gift card donations. Some of the Vermilion Parish School District’s donations even came from out of state in Florida and Texas.
“Vermilion’s been very lucky. A year ago, we had lots of damage. We had $50M of Hurricanes Laura and Delta, but we were spared what Calcasieu was given. We’re only 85 miles away from Lafourche Parish, and we were spared again,” Byler explained.
Lafourche Parish Superintendent Jarod Martin said every cent of the money raised is going directly to families and teachers.
Martin said, “This is going to allow them to get to the store and buy the supplies that they need immediately. Literally, put food on the tables of children and clothes on their back.”
According to Martin, Lafourche had just reopened their last school the day of the donation. At South Lafourche High School only a quarter of their buildings can be used. Principal Gaye Cheramie said that damage is a reflection of the community.
“We feel like we’re an island, and the world is going on and we’re not. So when things like this come about, it makes a realize we’re not forgotten,
and people do know what’s going on down in our area, and they are caring, and they are helping us,” Cheramie said.
Lafourche and Vermilion’s partnership was formed when the Louisiana School Boards Association asked school districts to adopt a parish recovering from Hurricane Laura. Lafourche helped Vermilion then, and Byler said it was only natural to repay in kind.
“We put some things together and what started as a small idea kind of just took off,” Byler said.
When Lafourche Parish was helping with Delta, they actually suffered category 3 Hurricane Zeta shortly after, so Martin said they are very thankful for the help with this massive category 5 Hurricane Ida leaving untold damage.