Methodist Children’s Home in Sulphur Reopens After Hurricane Laura

December 1, 2020 – Sulphur, LA – Today, Methodist Children’s Home of Southwest Louisiana reopens to care for children. Following a 90-day closure from Hurricane Laura, the staff is eager to care for children.

Since first opening in July 2011, the children’s home has cared only for boys. Upon reopening, The facility located just north of Sulphur, Louisiana, will provide intensive residential care to girls and boys.

Caring for girls, too, will be key for Louisiana’s children in two important ways, especially for children from southwest Louisiana. First, Methodist Children’s Home is increasing the number of beds available for girls in Louisiana. Second, “regionalizing” services will allow children, boys, and girls, from southwest Louisiana to remain closer to their families.

On Wednesday morning, August 26, the day before Hurricane Laura made landfall, Methodist Children’s Home of Southwest Louisiana (MSCHSWLA) safely evacuated. Staff transported the children from Sulphur, Louisiana, to the organization’s Outdoor Wilderness Learning (OWL) Center near Ruston. Radar images show the eye of Hurricane Laura passing over the children’s home in the hours after midnight.

The facility, designed by local architect Mr. E.J. Ellender, survived the storm virtually unscathed. However, the community was shredded by Laura’s powerful winds.

Providing residential care requires many partnerships with local community resources from first responders, food and fuel suppliers, and medical personnel. These local heroes were actively engaged in meeting the needs of the broader community. In addition, while the children’s home facility was undamaged, water and power were interrupted.

Unable to reoccupy the facility in Sulphur for residential care, all children in the care of MCHSWLA were admitted into Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home in Ruston, Louisiana.

Methodist Children’s Home of Southwest Louisiana worked with the Health Standards Section of the Louisiana Department of Health to deactivate its license. This freed the facility to be used for disaster recovery work. The children’s home entered a partnership with the Disaster Relief Ministry of the United Methodist Church in Louisiana, making the facility available as a staging area and living quarters for recovery volunteers.

Rick Wheat, CEO of Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services, the parent organization of the Methodist Children’s Home of Southwest Louisiana, said, “Like everyone in Southwest Louisiana, our staff members’ world was devastated by Hurricane Laura. We are excited to reopen so quickly and we were humbled to be able to open the facility to disaster teams who assisted the region’s recovery.”

Wheat continued, “In addition to what the staff of MCHSWLA has done to reopen, during the evacuation period, many helped care for children at Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home in Ruston. Our employees in Southwest Louisiana have remarkable skills, a clear vision of the good that is possible for Louisiana’s children, and a powerful commitment to make it happen.”

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CONTACT INFORMATION

Patrick Blanchard
Director of Public Relations and Development
Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services
patrick.blanchard@LMCH.org
1 (318) 242-4622 desk
1 (318) 548-8536 cell
LUMCFS.org