By Kane Webb, USA Rice
LAKE CHARLES, LA -- With the recent devastation left behind from Hurricane Michael, the Gulf Coast region of the Florida panhandle is ground zero for what will likely be a long and costly recovery period. The rice industry knows all too well the damages and disruption storms like this cause for communities and families.
Late last month, Louisiana Farm Bureau's Kyle McCann received information about a group planning to assist with recovery efforts who were hoping to add some rice to their donation, "maybe a pallet or so."
Volunteer Ascension, a group made up of several Ascension Parish agencies and organizations, was making plans to travel to the Florida panhandle to provide relief and assistance to hurricane victims and recovery volunteers by providing meals. They were reaching out to different ag groups for help in gathering cooking supplies, and rice was at the top of their list.
Response to the request for a pallet of rice came in quickly. Nick Bernhard, CEO of Farmers Rice Mill in Lake Charles, arranged for a pallet to be donated, and Marley Oldham, of Kennedy Rice Mill in Mer Rouge, followed suit.
With more rice already on hand than requested, it was decided that what Volunteer Ascension couldn't cook, they could donate to those in need.
"Volunteers and victims will be the recipients of some great Louisiana cooking, made with 'Certified LA Rice,'" said McCann.
"The ag groups really came through for us," said Rhett Bourgeois with Volunteer Ascension. "This is greatly appreciated."
Of the donation by Farmers Rice Mill, Bernhard said, "We've all been affected by a devastating storm at one time or another, and the generosity of others made recovery a little easier. We're glad we could be on the giving end to help our neighbors to the east."
Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa said, "Ascension Parish people are always ready and willing to help others in need."
The same can be said of the U.S. rice industry.