The Leather Apron Foundation, a 501(c) 3 charitable organization serving those in need in Leader area neighborhoods, mobilized quickly after the storm to see where they best could provide service.
LAF President Jonathan Kolmetz said that the first set of volunteers arrived on September 1 and 2 and went to work helping residents at the hard hit Covered Bridge Condominiums on Georgi Lane.
“Our teams have cleared and supported four units, but our volunteers have worked in and out many, many others,” said Kolmetz. “We have more than 50 individuals that have signed up to volunteer specifically for Harvey recovery. Just yesterday someone told me they were at the Covered Bridge location because of the LAF posting and request for support.”
Kolmetz said they are getting volunteers through social media and word of mouth. He is proud that the organization is able to help those in nearby areas.
“The LAF was created to help our friends and neighbors,” he said. “Our mission is to provide direct support to neighbors in need by bringing the community together through hands-on citizenship. Our vision clearly states that ‘the LAF is poised to respond and leverage community resources when burdens arise so that no one neighbor must endure the burden alone.’”
The LAF’s assessment is that the community is still in the very early stages of recovery.
“Schools are closed, businesses are working to get back open, and folks are just starting to understand what post Harvey will mean for them,” said Kolmetz. “As the popup community shelters close, and the cleaning and clearing out finish, we plan to continue our work. We are assessing partnerships with churches and social service organizations to provide home and houseware goods or financial support over the next several months.”
The LAF has also reached out to businesses to have a LAF Harvey Recovery Week with a percentage of sales going right back into supporting locals in need of disaster relief.
Kolmetz would like to recognize Naro Mak at Hartz Krispy Chicken for donating food to LAF’s volunteers and to Brad Broussard, owner of Prince’s Hamburgers on Ella, who Kolmetz says reached out to the LAF to provide financial support even before re-opening his restaurant.
The organization was working on the LAF 3-2-1 Go back to school program before Harvey hit.
“We are reaching out to the schools to see if we can modify this program to more directly help those families with the most need starting school,” said Kolmetz.
To donate or volunteer, visit www.leatherapronfoundation.org.