UMCOR Bright Spots
IN TODAY'S ISSUE
March 15, 2007
Biloxi Family Looks Forward to Returning to "Crayola House"
UMCOR Case Managers Coordinate Services in Cameron Parish
This Week's Quote
"Before and After in Biloxi (Slide Show)
BILOXI FAMILY LOOKS FORWARD TO RETURNING TO "CRAYOLA HOUSE"
By Susan J. Meister, Gulf Coast Communications
Miss Ollivette's sister Miss Jaclyn urged her, "Go on! Tell them what you call the house!"
Miss Ollivette's bedroom is a bright pink, just one of the colorful rooms in her family's "Crayola house."
A bright pink bedroom, a yellow living room, another lime green bedroom, a purple kitchen - it's a "crayola house!"
Color and family are important for Miss Ollivette, who is overseeing the rebuilding of her father's home in East Biloxi, Miss. She estimates that 22 feet of water from the storm surge of Hurricane Katrina covered the home in August 2005, and finally settled to 7 feet. Miraculously, the new windows survived, but not much else.
"We had just remodeled the whole house in April, and moved in July," she said. "We bought a new TV - I think we watched it three times!"
Miss Ollivette's father, Mr. Johnny, is staying with another sister in Kentucky, awaiting the final touches on the house. She hopes the home will help ease some of his confusion.
"These nice people are such a blessing," she exclaimed. Her sister chimed in, "God sent legions of angels to us!"
Miss Ollivette is grateful to a volunteer from Bowie, Md., who was helping to hang cabinets in her purple kitchen.
UMCOR case managers coordinate long term recovery
Miss Ollivette entered the case management system early after the storm, when case managers were walking through the neighborhood of East Biloxi, according to case manager Julie Duncan.
"Samaritan's Purse arrived very soon after the storm because they are first responders," Duncan explained. "When they decided to get into the recovery business, they began repairing the homes they gutted right after the storm. Ollivette soon came up on their list.
"Samaritan's Purse did some of the work, Miss Ollivette paid for other labor and supplies, and now we are trying to help her finish up the project so that her father can finally come home," Duncan said.
Samaritan's Purse is co-located with the Seashore Station of the Mississippi United Methodist Katrina Disaster Response ministry, on the grounds of Seashore Assembly, just off Beach Boulevard in Biloxi.
Rebuilding from the damage of Hurricane Katrina is a multi-year effort. To help families in East Biloxi and other locations along the Gulf Coast, contact the Mississippi United Methodist Katrina Response
For more on the United Methodist recovery work visit these web sites:
UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief)
UM News Service
Alabama-West Florida Conference
Miss Mary (left), Mr. Raphael, and Miss Gilda are one of the families receiving help through rebuilding efforts in Cameron Parish, La., coordinated by UMCOR.
Photo courtesy Mennonite Disaster Service
UMCOR CASE MANAGERS COORDINATE SERVICES IN CAMERON PARISH
UMCOR case managers are key participants in long term recovery efforts across the huge areas in Louisiana and Mississippi affected by the wind and water of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Lake Charles, La., is no exception. Not only is the staff of the disaster recovery station active in the long term recovery committee, Faith Share, they also were instrumental in identifying several families who needed new or rebuilt homes and in finding resources to help.
Case manager Tonia Pence explained that Mennonite Disaster Services (MDS) was ready to come to Cameron Parish to help. “They were looking for meaningful work,” she said, “and we could provide case management, specifically, working with families and helping with funding.”
As a result, the Lake Charles staff identified a need for six new homes and three major repairs. They helped find space in the parish (concrete slabs which used to be an apartment complex) for the self-contained MDS trailers for housing, dining and office space. Between 18 and 25 volunteers from Canada and the US come to the camp every week to help with the rebuild.
Many agencies involved in rebuilding
The efforts to help families rebuild involve both one-on-one conversations with families and individuals and work with a wide variety of agencies. Pence’s conversations about the project are peppered with familiar names – FEMA, Church World Service, Salvation Army, United Way, and more. Recently, she worked on a grant to Rotary Club International. Individual donations of money and materials are also gratefully accepted. She estimates that about $40,000 is needed for each rebuilt home.
The cases presented to the LTR committee for selection for the MDS project included a home for Mr. Doyle, which is nearing completion in Grand Lake. His story and additional photos are featured in the December 8 issue of the conference newspaper, Louisiana Now! Miss Gilda’s new two-bedroom home will help her provide care to her parents, Mr. Raphael and Miss Mary. A couple from northern Louisiana donated lumber to build two of the houses, including one for Miss Viola.
More on Mennonite Disaster Service
Read about Mennonite Disaster Service, including more stories and photos from the Cameron, La., projects, at their web site.
The Lake Charles and other stations of the Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry are helping families rebuild after the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. To volunteer or for more information, contact the Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry.
“BEFORE” and “AFTER” in Biloxi
Download this slide and use in your Sunday morning announcements or mission minute