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Donated bales of hay are making their way from southeastern Louisiana to drought-stricken Texas.

It’s a mission project started by a member of Woodland Park Baptist Church in Hammond, who asked that his name be withheld. He’s retired from the Louisiana Department of Transportation, but not from the small spread he farms near Loranger, where about 20 head of beef cattle graze. “I was at home, watching the news, and you could see how bad it [the drought] was out there [in Texas],” the mission project catalyst said. “I love missions and wanted to help. Then I left my house and as I was driving I saw leftover hay from last year in a barn. That’s when it hit me: Why don’t I find out how many barns have leftover hay they’d donate?”

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Most everybody did, he found out. “From there it just took off. I started calling Baptist churches in Texas to see who had need, and that’s how it started.”

The donor has been a member of Woodland Park Hammond for about four years, associate pastor Randy Ray said.

“He went on a medical mission trip with me a year ago to El Salvador and that really stepped him up as far as his focus on missions,” Ray said. “He went to Kentucky earlier this year on a construction project and he went to northern Mississippi with tornado relief a couple of months ago. When he came back, he organized a chainsaw unit for our association, and now we have a really nicely equipped chainsaw trailer.”

The haylift ministry focuses on farmers with not too much acreage nor too many cattle.

“We’re just helping the little guys, those with, say, 20 to 50 head [of cattle],” the mission project catalyst said on Aug. 10. “We’ve been hauling for three weeks and will continue another three weeks for farmers who have run out of hay and grass. “We can take only 17 round bales on a gooseneck, and 38 to 40 on an 18-wheeler,” the donor continued. “We’ve taken it to Jacksonville, Texas, and from there it’s gone as far as west as Abilene. We’ve got hay in Austin, Huntsville and Blessing, Texas. We’re dealing mostly with Baptist churches so it’s delivered fairly and is not being sold.”

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