When Naked River Brewing owner Jake Raulston was asked by his friend John Dobard if he could help victims of Hurricane Ida, it didn't take the one-time Gulf Coast area resident long to come up with an idea.
Making it happen has taken a little longer, but after using the resources of his craft brewery on Monday to package 10,000 cans of water, Raulston said he will be better prepared should there be another disaster that leaves people without clean drinking water.
And, as often happens when there are people in need and people wanting to help, Raulston is not alone in the endeavor. Six other area businesses jumped on board to help sponsor the effort, which he said could cost between $3,500-$4,500 whenever cans, labels, shipping and filtered water are factored in.
"I didn't consider the cost when I thought about this," Raulston said. "But once we started talking about it, all of the sponsors jumped in and said, 'whatever you need.'"
Helping cover the costs are fellow local brewers OddStory, Chattanooga Brewing Co. and Heaven & Ale, plus Steam Logistics, which will be handling the actual delivery, and Team Title Services, Dynamic Labels and The Barn Nursery.
A GoFund me campaign has been launched for people who want to make donations.
"I lived and worked in New Orleans for about five years, and there are a lot of displaced people from Louisiana who live in this area," Raulston said.
Dobard, a local attorney with Team Title Services and Raulston's former high school wrestling teammate, said his family lives in Lafourche Parish and that many there are still without power.
"They need a lot of things, but really it's just knowing that people care," Dobard said. "A lot of times people can feel isolated and forgotten, and this will let them know people care and are thinking about them."
Raulston said he hopes the cans will be ready for delivery by Tuesday. They will be taken to Rouse Market warehouse in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
"They are friends, but also they have about 195 stores down there and they understand where the needs are and can get the water where it is needed," Raulston said.
He said he sees the project as having two parts.
"We are sending this water down there now, but now that we know the process and the timing and what all has to happen, we can do it quicker and more efficiently if there is another crisis," Raulston said.
Contact Barry Courter at email@example.com or 423-757-6354.