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UMCOR Bright Spots

IN TODAY'S ISSUE
June 21, 2007

Red Arrow-giftDulac Station Reaches Out to Residents Through Community Center
Red Arrow-giftHomeowners in Pearlington Continue to Rebuild
Red Arrow-giftThis Week's Quote
Red Arrow-giftRecovery Stats
Red Arrow-giftHigh School Students (Slide Show)

DULAC STATION REACHES OUT TO RESIDENTS THROUGH COMMUNITY CENTER

By Susan J. Meister, Gulf Coast Communications

When volunteer teams arrive at the Dulac Community Center 75 miles southwest of New Orleans, they receive an in-depth orientation about the Houma-Dulac area. "The hurricanes not only caused damage here," explains John Paul Maguire, manager of the Dulac station, "they uncovered damage and exposed the systemic poverty in the region."

 Nets and a bucket of fresh-caught shrimp surround Mr. Joseph, who relates the impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita on his life and livelihood.

Nets and a bucket of fresh-caught shrimp surround Mr. Joseph, who relates the impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita on his life and livelihood.
Susan Meister/UMCOR

The area is very low income, populated mostly by Houma Indians. "Many people here have neither the knowledge nor the money to maintain their homes," Mr. Maguire continued.

The Dulac Community Center, one of 103 National Mission Institutions of the General Board of Global Ministries, has a long history of improving quality of life for area residents through education, empowerment and upgrading homes. The Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry expanded to Dulac and the surrounding community in 2006 and established a formal presence at the Community Center, connected to the Abbeville Station. New volunteer housing, funded by an UMCOR grant, opens this summer.

Homeowners need and appreciate work of volunteers

Mr. Calvin has multiple health issues and, sadly, lost his wife this past January. In the concrete at the base of the ramp built by volunteers, he put the inscription, "Rest in peace Mollie." Teams have also repaired the roof and front porch.

Mr. Calvin appreciates the new ramp built by volunteers from the Dulac station.

Mr. Calvin appreciates the new ramp built by volunteers from the Dulac station.
Susan Meister/UMCOR

"My youngest daughter wanted to quit school after her mother died," Mr. Calvin said, "but I know my wife would want her to keep going. I'm taking care of the puppies, birds and plants, just like she told me."

Mr. Joseph has had teams from various organizations in to help with his home. Like many others in the area, he depends on fishing and shrimping for his livelihood.

Mr. James and Miss Norma relocated to Dulac from the Lake Charles, La. area, when their home was destroyed by Hurricane Rita in September 2005. "We lost everything in the storm," Miss Norma said. "I'm still not over it."

The couple evacuated to Dulac to be near a niece, and decided to stay. The home they are in, right on the bayou, had 11 inches of water and needed substantial work.

"We went to see the people at the Center, and they were here the next day," Miss Norma exclaimed. "I thank God every day for them."

Dulac, Abbeville 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. Access Maguire's web site to see additional photos of Dulac and his newsletter about the ongoing work around Dulac in Terrebonne and LaFourche Parishes of Louisiana.

For more on the United Methodist recovery work visit these web sites:
UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief)
UM News Service
Mississippi Conference
Louisiana Conference
Texas Conference
Alabama-West Florida Conference