Community Partners Support FirstLine in Wake of Hurricane Ida

In the wake of Hurricane Ida, many of us saw our neighborhoods and communities come together to help one another recover and rebuild. At FirstLine, we’re lucky to have amazing community partners who wanted to support our families and staff as we all recovered from the storm. 

Not long after the storm had passed, Pastor Andrew Hanna of Harvest Church reached out to Phillis Wheatley’s social work team to ask how his congregation could assist Wheatley families. Hanna, who taught at Wheatley for three years before transitioning to full-time pastoral work, has actively sought a strong community partnership with Wheatley.

“Before the storm, I would drop by weekly to check in on everyone and see if they needed anything”, Hanna noted. “Harvest [Church] is in the neighborhood, my family’s home is in the neighborhood – the students know that they can stop by anytime.”

Post-Ida, Hanna and his congregation got to work gathering donations from partner organizations and other churches. He was in frequent contact with Mr. Bernell Elzey and Ms. Maya Edwards of Wheatley’s social work team to confirm what families needed the most. Together, they planned a distribution day on Saturday, September 11th. Church volunteers and Wheatley staff helped hand out food, water, cleaning supplies, and basic construction supplies to families, along with diapers and formula for those who needed them. The volunteers also helped clean up the school campus, inside and out!

Just up the road in Gentilly, even more of our community partners were showing up to help Arthur Ashe recover after the storm. Volunteers from Crescent City Soccer, City Year New Orleans, and iBuild NOLA dedicated their time and energy to cleaning up storm debris around Ashe, making sure that the school campus would be safe and accessible for staff and students. And after all of that hard work (Ashe has a large outdoor campus!), they also helped clean up debris around Green the same week!

As many of us know, recovering from a hurricane requires plenty of patience, collaboration, and care for one another. We are so grateful to our community partners for all of the support that they provide to our schools and our families, both during times of crisis and of celebration. They provide excellent examples of civic engagement for our students, and remind all of us of the inherent value in the simple act of checking on your neighbor.

Special thanks to Crosspoint Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison, MS, and Bethel Baptist Church in Dora, AL for their donations and volunteer support at Wheatley!