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More Coast info

September 6, 2005

click on and enlarge this and other pictures below.  These are tree, the leaves are all gone, but look at the stuff in them.  Clothes mostly.  The body count is expected to start to explode.  Officials think it will be thousands dead in Mississippi not hundreds.  

Dee Andrew’s husband Tom has all the papers since the storm from Picyanue posted on the Picyaune Item’s website.

I am coordinating teams to go help in whatever way they can. Our church along with some others are acting as clearinghouses for relief efforts.  We are accepting donations in form of money or goods.  We need all the helpers we can to send to areas in need.

Can’t really think of what is blogable, but I do want to say that God lead us on our trip in so many ways.  My wife told it pretty well in an e-mail, so I will post it below.

Hello, all,

I want to write to let you all know what has been going on here regarding Katrina. Tommy spent several days last week on the phone with the Red Cross, MEMA, and different groups trying to find a way for us to go to the coast and help directly. Saturday we got in touch with Therman Hodge, a friend of ours from the Meridian church of Christ, who was helping with a shipment of goods to Hattisburg. Tommy and I along with 4 other guys from church left to go to Hattisburg. When we got there, we helped unload a truckload of food and supplies from a church in Atlanta. In Hattisburg life was getting somewhat back to normal. They had power restored earlier that morning. Places were opening, and people were able to get food. So they were trying to push their shipment further south where it was needed more. They also had a large youth group from Birmingham helping them, so there was little for us to do. While Tommy and some of the other guys were trying to make phone calls to see where else we could go to help, an elder from the Ocean Springs Church of Christ called the church building in Hattisburg saying that they could use all of the help that they could get. So that’s where we headed. We arrived just at the end of their worship service which was being held on their front lawn, since their auditorium is filled with supplies to distribute. Apparently the service was pretty emotional; many had tear-stained faces. As soon as the service was over, they announced that it was time to get to work. We divided into teams of 5 or 6. Our team from Starkville first helped load several trailers with food and water and drove them to the Orange Grove Church of Christ in Biloxi. A lady from Ocean Springs rode with us to show us how to get to the Orange Grove church. On the way she asked us where we were from. When we told her that we were from Starkville, her eyes teared up, and she said, “I can’t believe it….I can’t believe it.” Finally, she told us that she grew up in Starkville and asked us to get word to her relatives that we go to church with that she was okay but her sister had lost everything.

When we arrived back in Ocean Springs, we were sent to work on a house. Twenty families in the church there lost everything. …….While we were working I could not help but wonder how many other people were having to do the same thing. How many times do you have to multiply this to reach the enomity of this disaster? On the street where we were working, everyone had all of their furniture/belongings in the front yard and piles of debris/carpet/etc. lined the road. After we finished we rode along the beach where the larger homes were. In many, many places there was nothing left but foundations. All along the roads, which apparently had been bulldozed, there was debris piled higher than our van. Much of the debris was furniture/toys/clothes and such washed up the road from the beach houses. There were clothes and trash hanging all along in the lower trees and bushes. It is hard to even know where to begin working with such destruction.

When we arrived back at the church building, we helped organize the supplies. The auditorium at the church probably seats about 150. Each pew was filled with groceries like a grocery store. They had received three truckloads of supplies just that day. The people there were amazingly organized considering what they have been going through. Many of the people who are there working and ministering to others have lost their homes and I am sure they have other things they need to be doing. When people come their seeking help, someone talks to them about how large their family is and what they need and then they take them through the aisles and help them bag supplies. We left yesterday thinking that their food and water needs were pretty much taken care of for awhile because they had such a huge amount of stuff. We came home thinking that they mainly need cleaning supplies and tools and medical supplies at this point which they do. But when Tommy talked to an elder at the church [Monday] afternoon, he said that they had almost given away everything they had yesterday. People have heard that they have food and supplies and have been coming from surrounding towns to them. He told Tommy, “These people don’t have jobs, so we are going to have to support them for awhile.”

One thing that amazed me was all of the people who have come from far away to help. Just where we were at Ocean Springs yesterday, there were people from Nashville, Arkansas, and Texas. We saw many, many convoys of power trucks–some from Alabama, Missouri, Maryland. On the way home we stopped to eat in Meridian and met a group of policeman from Columbia, SC headed to the coast. Tommy talked with a church in Oklahoma who are planning to send 60 volunteers down to the coast at the end of this week along with supplies.

Our church here in Starkville met this morning to plan/organize our short-term and long-term ministry to the people affected by Katrina. We are constantly receiving calls from other churches and individuals asking how they can help. We are telling them we need money, supplies, and workers, and we are organizing several different areas of ministry so that we will be able to efficiently obtain the supplies that they need at the moment and move them down south. One of the problems right now is that their needs down there are changing from day to day as we move from the rescue to the relief stage. We are also trying to coordinate help for the people displaced to Starkville by Katrina, by helping with jobs, places to stay, permanent living places, money, meals, etc. If you know of someone locally who needs help, please pass the info on to me. We have another group who have been taking supplies to Pascagoula and are headed back tomorrow. Tommy is coordinating teams to go to the coast for 3 to 4 day periods to work. One thing he says we need to do is to dispel the myth that it is dangerous to go there. Things may be different in New Orleans, but it is pretty safe where we were and the surrounding area. And they desperately need workers down there and will for a long time. Also, while gas is still hard to get on the coast, it is rapidly getting better. Yesterday as power was restored gas stations began to open. There were lines literally miles long waiting to get gas. In Biloxi a gas station line went past a Waffle House where the waittresses were taking and delivering orders at the cars. We took filled gas cans with us to make sure we would be able to get back. We could have gotten to the coast and back to Meridian where gas was available without the extra gas. One of the problems our workers are finding is that the people are needing cash. Gas stations and stores are slowly beginning to open, but the banks are limiting the amount of money people can withdraw. And some people simply don’t have money and don’t know when they will have jobs again.

I wanted to share with all of you what we have experienced and decided that a group e-mail was the best way. I urge you to keep everyone affected by Katrina in your prayers and please do whatever you can to help–every little bit helps.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 6, 2005 1:37 pm

    I was duly impressed about you and Amy. I want to plan a working trip soon. We may try and work through what you have organized. I am so grateful that you all are doing this.

    PS.who said I couldn’t play the piano??? OK I can’t.

  2. September 6, 2005 7:07 pm

    Thanks for the great information and all you’re doing to help!

  3. September 7, 2005 10:29 am

    Hi Thomas,
    My name is Chris Green and I work with the Monterey Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas. Evidently we passed each other on the road at some point on Saturday. My wife and I drove our truck with a trailer full of water (4000 bottles) straight into Ocean Springs on Saturday. We initially were headed to the OS Church of Christ , but when we got there it looked like there was a lot of help so we decided to push on.

    We ended up in Gulfport at an apartment complex that nobody had been to with water. We passed out a lot of our stuff there and got to visit with several of the families. AMAZING…that’s all I can say.

    We’re looking for more opportunities to help out so if you run across some keep us posted. Keep up the good work!

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