Hurricane Katrina Anniversary: Mississippi UM Disaster Recovery Continues

By Beth Dean, Mississippi United Methodist 

Disaster Recovery Inc. 


Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29, 2005 as a category five hurricane, reportedly making it the fourth most powerful hurricane of all time. Most people were not prepared for a

Beth Dean (green shirt) is seen making a delivery of supplies.
 storm of this magnitude, including the church that miraculously stepped up for the most vulnerable. While local churches were working on the front lines, the Mississippi Annual Conference with aid from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) was busy meeting the immediate needs of those affected by the storm, while simultaneously putting in place a long-term recovery structure.

   

Mississippi United Methodist Disaster Recovery, Inc., an UMCOR affiliate, was born out of Hurricane Katrina with a vision to "help heal hearts and homes" by returning people to safe, sanitary and secure environments. The organization works with homeowners whose needs are not met by other funding sources, such as insurance, grants, Small BusinessAdministration (SBA) loans and meet theestablished qualifications. 

These volunteers represent thousands helping with recovery and relief.

 

All the work is volunteer-driven. Without the help of volunteers, the Mississippi coast would
not be as far along in the recovery process. 


Over the past eight years, this organization has been able to serve over 500 homeowners with the assistance of approximately 15,000 volunteers who have come from every state and even out of the country. The work has consisted of debris clean-up, providing tarps, repairing and replacing roofs, flooring, drywall installation/finishing, cabinetry, carpentry, painting and any other jobs as needed. In the years since Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi UM Disaster Recovery, Inc. has had new client cases as a result of Hurricane Isaac and other weather-related events that have worsened some homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina.  

 

Since its inception, the organization has changed and downsized from the six original volunteer camps 

Volunteers tarp storm-damaged home.

to one central camp (Camp Love) located in Gulfport, Mississippi. Camp Love continues to house and feed volunteers and serve Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties. However, when necessary, the camp assists in other ways such as delivering UMCOR supplies to the affected areas following the Hattiesburg tornado in February 2013. The remaining staff is dedicated to continuing the work that was begun and have also expanded the focus of their mission to include the many homeowners who need assistance with repairs in an effort to help lessen future damage from storms, but do not have the necessary resources. Mississippi United Methodist Disaster Recovery, Inc. has become an outreach of hope for the least, the last, the lost and the forgotten. The volunteers have come to serve and to be a blessing to others. They never expected to be so richly blessed. In return, they would leave behind their hearts and revisit year after year, renewing old friendships and making new ones. Without them, homeowners would still be waiting for help and sadly that is the case for some.  

 

Sheetrocker
One volunteer donates time to dry wall a home.
As the 8th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina quickly approaches, Mississippi United Methodist Disaster Recovery, Inc., reflects on all that the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast has accomplished in its recovery efforts. People can travel Highway 90 in either direction where growth and rebuilding can be seen. The towns are coming back to life as well as the shops and restaurants to waiting tourists. While there are still driveways and stairs that once led to homes, no longer in place, there are homes that have been rebuilt and repaired. Stop to remember those whose lives were lost; those whose lives were forever changed and the stories that about that one moment when Katrina wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast. To those who responded to make a difference amidst the chaos, Mississippi United Methodist Disaster Recovery, Inc. says "thank you." To those who wish to be a part of this outreach mission, make the contact today. 

For more information or to bring a team to Camp Love, please call 866-435-7091 or email umcamplove@gmail.com. Scheduling has begun for 2014.

By: Circuit Rider On 8/28/2013