Among ladders and power tools, groups of people posed Thursday with massive checks and discussed how they plan to use both the money and equipment for flood recovery work.
They were representing five organizations that received a total of $250,000 in grants from insurance company UnitedHealthcare to support projects from rebuilding flooded homes to offering mammograms in a mobile vehicle.
Allison Young, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Louisiana, said her team looked for organizations already "making a difference in people's lives" to receive the funds through the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
The Mid City Redevelopment Alliance opened its garage doors to host the ceremony Thursday in its headquarters, where the organization stores tools and equipment that volunteers are using to get 35 families back home by next year, said Samuel Sanders, executive director of the alliance.
"We know that there is a lot of work that needs to be done and as an organization like us (and the other grant recipients), we know that there is a push and a need for us to continue working to help rise all boats," Sanders said. "For us, we believe strongly that there should be no one hurting and no one choosing not to respond."
The alliance will use its $100,000 grant to help launch the "Welcome Home" program, which involves rebuilding and restoring Baton Rouge-area houses and businesses.
Another $100,000 went to SBP, which was formerly known as the St. Bernard Project, to assist in rebuilding homes and training other organization's how to rebuild efficiently and effectively. Zack Rosenburg, SBP co-founder and CEO, said the organization's overall mission is to shorten the time between a disaster and the recovery.
Rosenburg said the SBP team, which has expanded beyond the New Orleans area, is "sprinting" to complete another home by the end of the week for a woman who just had open heart surgery, but they have more than 100 other clients still in need.
The Louisiana First Foundation will use its $25,000 grant to assist governments, nonprofits and residents by coordinating resources.
Another $15,000 will help fund the Disaster Recovery Law Clinic at the Southern University Law Center.
And $10,000 is going to the Woman's Hospital Mammography Coach, which will travel to 15 parishes to provide women with breast-imaging services.
Louisiana First Lady Donna Edwards lent a hand after the ceremony to pack the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance's equipment van with tools for another day of work alongside grant recipients, UnitedHealthcare representatives and volunteers.
"It just shows when we come together what a difference we can make," Edwards said.