Friday, September 30, 2005

The need continues

I'll be leaving Southern Mississippi tomorrow, and unlike so many people here, I'm going home to an actual house.

The stores are open, the curfew is lifted, the restaurants are bustling, and in this one sense, things are getting back to normal.

But so many people are still without places to live, and still unsure what they will do next.

Among those helping is the American Red Cross. It has set up one of the largest kitchens in the South: It's outside, in a parking lot.

This truck delivers 600 to 700 lunches a day. And it is one of 15 trucks. I'll do the math ... umm ... that's more than 10,000 lunches every day.

The need is enormous, and of course The Red Cross is asking for donations and volunteers.

This truck is delivering lunches to volunteers around the area, including those at First Presbyterian Church of Biloxi. And speaking of First Pres:

Darlene, a missionary to Ecuador who is in the States on furlough, has been volunteering at First Pres.

Here, she points out the items on the huge chart the church is using to keep track of the stuff coming in and out and to keep track of the volunteers.

It seems that every time a certain supply runs low, a truck pulls up with those very supplies. Supplies were getting low on Thursday, when this picture was taken. One reason was that Tuesday was an extremely busy day. In eight hours, the church distributed supplies for 686 people.

With grocery stores open, the actual food distribution will not continue for much longer. But there is plenty of other work that needs to be done: Roofing, clean-up, construction, office work, counseling. The church staff has been working very hard, and can use a break, too.

The folks at Mission to North America, the PCA organization that is running the relief operation, say the work on the Gulf Coast will continue as long as three things remain:

  • The church continues to sponsor it
  • The volunteers keep coming
  • The work is here to do
Since there is no chance the work will evaporate anytime soon, and the church is likely to continue housing visiting helpers, the rest is up to volunteers.

Can you help? Can you send money? Can you take the time to come and work? Anyone with the willingness to help can be of help.

You can go to the PCA Relief web page to offer your assistance.

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