Last Friday night, Chad McIntrye called his mother in Baton Rouge to confirm that she was safe from rising flood waters.
She insisted she was, but just twelve hours later she woke to find her home filling with murky water.
“My mom is not an early riser, so when the phone rang a six o’clock I knew there was a problem,” says McIntyre, owner of Raleigh’s Eco-Tech Draft Systems and former chef at the now-closed Market Restaurant.
“She thought she was high and dry and fine, but by morning she was being evacuated.”
Members of the Raleigh food community are rallying together on social media with the hashtags #RaleighingUp and #BRFlood to collected donated items that McIntyre, at the helm of the project, will take down to Louisiana for flood victims. He's leaving from Dram & Draught
today at 1 p.m. with hundreds of donated items from community members and local businesses. McIntyre explains his mission in a Facebook video
on his page, with a direct link to make an online donation.
McIntyre grew up in the city of Central, Louisiana, located in hard-hit East Baton Rouge Parish. Of its 150,000 residents, only 13,000 were allowed to go back to their homes. His mother is among those lucky few.
As of Aug. 16, CBS News reported
40,000 homes impacted by the historic flooding, with 11,000 people displaced in shelters.
This is not the first time McIntyre’s family experienced flooding. He was six years old in 1983 when heavy rains caused the Amite River to spill into communities that don’t often flood. “Then, the river crested at 41.5 feet. This past Sunday, it crested at 46.5 feet,” he says. “I know from a neighbor that the house I grew up in has five or six feet of water in it.”
McIntyre and his wife, Emily, both have a lot of family and friends in the area, and he felt a strong pull to help affected residents. Several businesses with whom he is affiliated are supporting this mission by providing cleaning supplies and other essentials.
In addition to donated goods, McIntyre bringing his jambalaya pot and enough supplies to feed a thousand displaced residents.
“We’re working with two churches to feed people,” he says. “It’s going to take some people years to get back on their feet. Some never will. It’s like they say, ‘people who had nothing lost everything.’ The few days of my time are just a drop in the bucket, but in these situations, every drop helps.”