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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Cajun Navy Relief

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Disaster Aid, Disaster Preparedness & Relief Services, Search & Rescue Squads

Mission: The mission of Cajun Navy Relief is to save lives. We are a group of volunteers who work tirelessly without pay to provide immediate rescue and relief during natural disaster. Rescue and relief is our way of sharing our South Louisiana cultural tradition of neighbors helping neighbors, with people in need across the United States. By integrating civilian volunteers into the Incident Command Structure, we are able to act as a force multiplier for agencies responding to disaster.

Results: Cajun Navy Relief was founded in 2016, became a non-profit 501(c)(3) in January 2017. We have responded to: 2016: South Louisiana Floods, Hurricane Matthew 2017: Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, missing child search and rescue 2018: Hidalgo County Flood, Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael 2019: Vicksburg, MS & Hamilton MS (tornado debris clearing), Hurricane Barry, Tropical Storm Imelda 2020: Onalaska, TX tornado, Tropical Storm Cristobal, Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Sally, Hurricane Delta, Hurricane Zeta 2021: Winter Storm Viola & Uri, SWLA Flooding, Baton Rouge Flooding, Hurricane Ida

Target demographics: everyone

Geographic areas served: several different states, primarily Louisiana

Programs: search and rescue and immediate supply relief during natural disasters

Community Stories

35 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

This amazing group of people go above and beyond the call of duty. They risk their lives to save others, they help with the cleanup, they help make sure people have the supplies they need to survive after natural disasters hit.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great group of people who really came through when we needed help after Hurricane Ida hit. They went above and beyond! Big thank you to every one of them!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Cajun Navy Relief was the first organization to have boots on the ground in Barataria, Louisiana shortly after Hurricane Ida completely devastated our community. Colleen, Tristan and Flint were the first to arrive. These people were a lifeline to us. We were cut off from the mainland when our only way on and off the island (The Kerner Bridge) was taken out by the storm. They came with a boatload of supplies and started distributing those supplies along with hot meals on a daily basis. They kept the supplies and hot meals coming as more and more of their organization came to help. I was amazed that people actually voluntarily leave the comforts of their home to put themselves in harms way to help total strangers. Well, strangers we are no more. I truly consider the good people of Cajun Navy Relief to be great friends who me and my community will forever be grateful to!

1 Daniel F.8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization that I have very much enjoyed working with over the years and look forward to continuing to work with for many years. This last year my oldest son has even started volunteering and he as also enjoyed working with the teams and is excited to help out more in the feature.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Love this group. Would follow them to the ends of the earth. Or probably lead them there. Either way.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with this group since 2016. Great group to work with.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Here in Southwest Louisiana we had a major hurricane in August 2020 followed by another major hurricane a couple of months later in October 2020. Immediately Cajun navy Relief showed up because they knew we needed help. They showed up with food and supplies and Colleen Udell came every day seven days a week with hot lunches and food that we could feed over 500 people every day. she did that for months and It was such a blessing! For several months they came and helped us and also put us in touch with people to put solar panels in front of our church which helped us while we had no electricity- gave us power in our buildings so we could cook food in give out supplies to people. This is a great organization and they helped us beyond anyone’s imagination and we are so thankful for them!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2016 my son and I were displaced out of all people the cajun helped us and we helped others we are truly thankful for you guys may god keep blessing you.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Most organizations are started with a small number of persons who build a solid foundation from which to grow and expand slow and steady into long lasting and fruitful organizations. We had no such luxury.

August of 2016 was the first attempt at organizing the volunteer effort called Cajun Navy. It is estimated there were 1,000+ volunteers that responded to the 2016 Baton Rouge Floods. To start an organization with 1,000+ on a flooded and storm destroyed foundation has been a monumental task that at times seemed as impossible as predicting the no name storm itself that brought us all together. Many personalities, passions, and different experiences led to large breakups and various numbers of different groups, each striving to help the helpless, each doing it in their own way.
Out of this was born our group, Cajun Navy Relief. I cannot even begin to put into words the level of passion and selflessness I've witnessed in helping to build, organize and train with this group of people. We are not just working to better serve our communities when in need, but to build an organization that future generations will be proud of and want to be a part of. We are working to be an example to all, that our friends, family and neighbors are our responsibility and for them, we will sacrifice.

If you need help, call us. If you can help, call us too. :)
SwampThing
Rescue Boat Captain

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Cajun navy has helped hundreds! Anytime there is an emergency they are there!

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

These are some terrific people who are doing wonderful work! Trying to help spread the word about this organization.

7 Kristen B.5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hard working people! They are heaven sent. It’s great to see so many donating their time to help those in need!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Have been volunteering for w years now. Always trying to improve and grow.

7 bradbrla

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CNR is where I have found people like me... People that have unique skill sets that, when combined properly, can make a difference in the lives of others. This is my first season with Cajun Navy Relief, but seeing what this organization stands for and its tireless desire to do right by its friends and neighbors---well, it's the epitome of what makes a "Great NonProfit."

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Began volunteering with this organization in 2016. I seen a need for help on Facebook and jumped in to help virtually 500 miles away. I amazed at the heart of the local volunteers and those far away at the work they put in helping their neighbors. The organization has grew into something amazing, helping people across the southeast US.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Cutting edge technology and a disaster resilient, virtual EOC mixed with old-fashioned neighbor helping neighbor... an unbeatable combination!

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Such a great organization. I came into it a few years ago in the background. when I came to actively help this year they welcomed me and started training me right away. When you call someone and tell them help is on the way it really touches your heart and lets you know that you are making a difference in peoples life.

13 Maria Elia F.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hard working people! They are heaven sent. Lord knows they have a huge caring heart. They never give up.

9 Jeni Lynn G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The volunteers at Cajun Navy work tirelessly to make sure that they are prepared for everything they might encounter. This includes physical training and online software training. During an event, several volunteers only get a few hours of sleep every other day. The boaters have spent nights sleeping in their vehicles. This group is a 501(c)3, not 1 person gets paid. All the volunteers are here because they truly love to help people.

11

Board Member

Rating: 5

During Hurricane Harvey, a friend of mine posted on Facebook the need for assistance with guiding boaters and volunteers to Texas. After researching the organization, I decided to volunteer my time. I started out just volunteering on a Zello channel with guiding boaters and other volunteers to the affected area so they could help the victims of the disaster at hand. It was such a rewarding and fulfilling experience that I decided to get more involved. If you're looking for a great organization to volunteer with, we're always looking for volunteers and the great thing is, you don't even have to own a boat! If you're considering making a donation, we cannot do this without the support of our donors and we would like to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

8 Tiffany J.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Cajun Navy Relief for a few years. It has been a very welcoming and friendly group to work with. They care about everyone and will do anything they can to help in some of the most difficult times. Great organization overall

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After being rescued from my flooding home in a previous storm, I jumped at the chance to join this amazing organization and help others in need. Since joining, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in multiple hurricane deployments. CNR partners with local authorities to help them succeed in identifying and evacuating people that are in need. I can’t begin to tell you how much of a life changing experience being in this organization has been. Helping people that are in need is at the core of my heart, and the unbelievable thanks and gratification you get from helping your neighbor is an indescribably amazing feeling. If ever there was a phenomenal organization to support, it would be the Cajun Navy Relief.

13

Client Served

Rating: 5

CNR saved our butts in Houston during Harvey. There would have been so many casualties had they not come. Will be forever grateful!

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked with CNR as a dispatcher during their rescue games for boaters. It was a competition to teach both boater and dispatcher alike how to help people and communicate with fellow organizations.

They take this seriously, and care about getting folks out of the water.

9 Jessica Marie R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with cajun navy relief for well over a year - 4 hurricanes and I have never met a more professional and organized group of volunteers. Cajun navy relief is comprised of good people working tirelessly and many times using their own money and property to help save others and repair their property after a disaster.

8 Alaina Hebert C.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been here since day one and couldn’t imagine not having CNR a part of my life. We have built a family. Legacy. Something to leave for our children to continue.

9 Ann D.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Cajun Navy Relief works year round to train and prepare for the possibility of being needed. Volunteers contribute countless hours to learning how to do their part efficiently and well. Built from people just wanting to help other people, CNR continues in the same tradition. Completely volunteer run and managed, this has become the go to rescue organization when an area is flooded and its people and animals need help that most others can't give.

8 Sarah O.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Since August 2016 when 1/3 of Louisiana flooded, I have been a part of this amazing organization. The people are like my family.

We all have the same heart for helping our neighbors. None of us can sit idly by while disaster strikes. We have to help. From boaters to behind the scenes, it's a beautiful sight to see when we activate to disaster areas.

God bless CNR!

13

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hurricane Harvey, 2017. Kingwood, TX. Prior to that fateful storm - never heard of the Cajun Navy. My son, wife and 2 young children were suddenly in 3 feet of water in a never-flooded home - outside of the 500 year flood plain. In the back of a subdivision with no un-flooded entrances or exits. Local authorities were scarce and couldn't access the area. The entire county was emotionally gridlocked and panicking.

The Cajun Navy showed up - I swear out of nowhere. They very carefully and professionally loaded the family and neighbors, and transported all by personal boat to the nearest high ground a few miles away. Then disappeared again into the rapids to save even more. Over and over again. They knew what to do while we had no clue.

Long hours; selfless work. Dangerous conditions; no fear. The courage of America - these heroes are the backbone of how goodness defines itself.

My grandchildren's memory is that of an adventuresome boat ride. How awesome is it that these guys are so well trained and ready that they present to impressionable young minds that this is no big deal - everything is under control. How amazing is it that without them, the city of Houston's citizens would have been in a lot deeper trouble than we had. And we were in DEEP trouble.

Thank you, all tireless volunteers of the Cajun Navy. I did not know how lucky we are to be your neighbors; all of Houston does now. And so does Louisiana, and South Carolina, and Florida....

8 Marie-Isabelle P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer for Cajun Navy Relief. I have also worked as a manager in the non-profit industry since 2000.

I am so impressed with this group! We are a 100% volunteer organization. We have no paid staff. Our volunteers work around the clock in the aftermath of disaster to ensure that people can evacuate safely and have access to immediate needs.

One of the other things I enjoy about working with Cajun Navy Relief is the culture of collaboration that is being built within the organization. This organization works with disaster relief agencies, governmental agencies, church groups, and animal rescue organizations. Our volunteers represent the entire political spectrum. At the end of the day, we are all able to work together to save lives. It is beautiful to witness the culture of mutual aid that Cajun Navy Relief inspires in the aftermath of disaster.

11 Cody B.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Honored to call Shawn a friend and see what he’s doing and how he’s doing it. No fame, no expected camera time, no benefiting for his personal benefit. Great organization doing great things.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a wonderful organization to work with. They care more about people then notarity.

8 Betsey U.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Cajun Navy Relief will have my undying support for the critical work they do after hurricane and flooding disasters. My first experience was watching these guys descend upon New Orleans and do what the government couldn't, respond with agility saving lives. I joined and worked with them after Harvey. They smoothly and professionally coordinated thousands of volunteers stepping into the immediate aftermath making those who could help do it effectively. After Florence it became even clearer that this organization fills a critical gap during these events. There are several groups with Cajun Navy in their names, but this one is the most effective at coordinating a bunch of disconnected volunteers and uses funds for relief instead of overhead.

8 Kelly N.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to work with the Cajun Navy Relief organization for the first time during Hurricane Harvey. My first impression was that they were a very close group that was first and foremost interested in the safety of their volunteers. We made over 300 rescues in the Vidor Texas area as a direct result of their guidance and dispatch. Since then, I have had the opportunity to watch them evolve into an even more structured and organized team with the activations for Hurricane Florence and Michael. We noticed their communications were even better, and they seem to be continuously looking for ways to improve the accuracy of the real-time data which helps us volunteers saves lives. I do, however, find myself often explaining that not all the outfits that using the name "Cajun Navy" are part of this organization. My team Guerrilla Search & Rescue228 - GSAR is proud to have been able to help and volunteer for CAJUN NAVY RELIEF and would continue to do so as long as they allow us. They are a great organization and a great group of people.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked with the cajun navy during Hurricane Harvey on their social media team. What we would do is find where people were posting online saying they or their family was in trouble, get phone numbers from them, and find out how high the waters were. We did thousands of rescues there, but I will never, ever forget having people tell us the water was up to their waist and they had no idea what to do. And then getting a tweet back saying they had been rescued. It was hard not to be moved to tears. The men and women of the cajun navy are America's disaster relief force, and show just what people can do when we work together to help each other. That's why I am recommending them as an amazing nonprofit.