Jacobs started helping others as Katrina's destruction was beginning


Nominee: Leona Flot Jacobs
Hometown: Pass Christian
Church Affiliation: Mount Zion United Methodist Church
Favorite verse:  Matthew 22:37  ”Love the Lord with all your heart mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself.”       

Quote: “Being devastated with losing my home was more than I could accept. Therefore, I needed something to take me away from my personal worries. I found that comfort in helping others.” 

Leona Jacobs commitment to helping others began during Hurricane Katrina when she took a van and brought 15 persons from water entrapment to high ground during the hurricane. 

Immediately after Katrina, Jacobs set up a distribution center in the small rural community of DeLisle at the small church and manned it for eight to 12 hours daily for the purpose of caring for her community when they could not care for themselves. She provided tents, blankets and personal items. Many times she cooked meals for those without a facility or food to cook. She distributed what ever came in food, clothes, cleaning supplies, and baby goods to the many in need. With her contagious smile she shared joy in the midst of devastation. She constantly reminded those in despair “…we will get through this just like we did Betsy and Camille.” She was a ray of hope to all who entered this small building. 

After that phase of the storm was over she began to house volunteers at the church to work to help clean, gut and restore homes. She has worked with more than 1,500 volunteers since Katrina. She is still excited to work with the teams that come in to help restore her community, although, she lost her home and all of her possessions to Katrina. 

She has shared in prayer, worship and communion with those persons to make their stay fulfilled. She enjoys cooking her special dish, red beans and rice Louisiana style for those coming to volunteer. She has developed lasting relationships with many United Methodist Church people and other denominations and faith groups because of Katrina. She lives in a FEMA travel trailer. 

She volunteered four weeks to help with Camp Noah, a program designed by the Lutheran Social Services to direct children who have experienced a disaster in their lives. It allows those involved to develop coping skill for use for a life time. More than 180 children were served over those four weeks. 

She is a lay delegate to the Mississippi Annual Conference for her church, where she serves as treasurer and as a trustee. She is the van ministry team leader and a communion server. She is a member of the Disciple Bible Study I class. 

She is married to Steve Jacobs and they have five grandchildren and six godchildren.