THIBODAUX, La. - It started as a humble idea to help victims of Hurricane Sandy and spread to include thousands of donations across three parishes.
Now, the Louisiana family that spearheaded the idea is trucking those donations to hurricane victims in New York.
Ask anyone who loaded two big rigs in a Thibodaux truck yard Saturday and they’ll tell you, this isn't your typical shipment. The Arabie Trucking 18-wheelers are filled with love.
The trucks are carrying donations for Hurricane Sandy victims. The Thibodaux-based family company spearheaded the effort two weeks ago. And with help from Facebook, "Lagniappe from the Bayou" grew bigger than anyone could have imagined.
Dozens of people across three parishes donated 120,000 pounds of supplies for Hurricane Sandy Victims, from food and water to baby toys and blankets.
“No matter what we go through, we still have have lagniappe. We still have a little something extra to give,” smiled Sandy Arabie, who owns Arabie Trucking with his wife, Myrna.
“It's individuals who gave of themselves. Whether it was clothes from their closet or groceries or new clothes or time, it came from the heart,” said Myrna Arabie.
It came from the hearts of people who have been there, who know what it's like to lose everything to natural disaster, and who couldn’t have bounced back without help from others. During Hurricane Gustav, Arabie Trucking lost the front of it’s building.
“We wanted to do something to pay it forward,” said Sandy Arabie.
And that's why the company plans to take all the donations it’s collected for Sandy victims to the hard hit small town of Amityville, New York.
“I wanted a small community. I wanted a community of hardworking individuals. I wanted a community like us,” said Myrna Arabie.
Since the effort began, governments for Lafourche and St. Charles parishes have stepped in to help. Assumption Parish schools competed to see which school could donate the most.
And a few Arabie truckers will miss Thanksgiving with their families so they can get the donations to New York in time for the holiday.
“I always knew South Louisiana was special. We’re hit. We’re still in recovery. And we have people in recovery sending stuff to people just starting their recovery. Amazed? Doesn't begin to cover it,” said Myrna Arabie, with tears in her eyes.
And as the trucks took off for Amityville Saturday night, organizers say this Thanksgiving, they're grateful for the generosity of others in times of need.
The trucks are expected to arrive in Amityville Tuesday.
You can follow their journey here.