First of 3 disaster recovery centers complete
By Woody Woodrick
VANCLEAVE – Neither Lowe’s nor Home Depot has located a franchise behind a United Methodist church, but it sure looks that way.
Surrounded by stacks of lumber, Sheetrock, plywood and dry wall compound, more than 100 people gathered April 15 for the dedication of
The 10,500-square-foot building combines warehouse space with dormitory space for volunteers. The building has a large kitchen, four rooms for bunk beds, two large bathrooms with three showers each and office space. The building is divided about 50-50 between living space and warehouse space.
Located on the grounds of
“We’re saving over 50 percent on materials in the long run,” Sharp said. “We can buy in bulk and at wholesale prices. That will pay for the building in the long run.”
Construction on the building began in June, and much of it was done by volunteers.
Frazer has been an active participant in the recovery effort in several areas along the
“This neighborhood is God’s workshop,”
Completion of the building means 86 volunteer workers will have more living space during their time working on the coast. Vancleave UMC has been providing living space and food to volunteers almost since the winds died after the Aug. 29, 2006, storm. The church has turned its Sunday school rooms into dorm rooms cramped with bunk beds. However, the church, whose pastor Larry Maugh owned a construction business before entering the full-time ministry, won’t change much in its effort to aid the community and volunteers.
“This is something we feel called to do,” said Jeri McBroom, coordinator of Katrina’s Kitchen, the Vancleave UMC group that provides meals to volunteers. “There’s no other recourse but to do it. I could not go to my home at night with a roof knowing there are people who didn’t have one.
“As long as God gives us the strength and health, we will continue. Our pastor had a vision for us, and we see it with him.”
Two additional recovery facilities are planned.
Other camps in the Mississippi United Methodist Katrina Recovery network are located at Gulfside Assembly in Waveland, St. Paul UMC in Ocean Springs, Seashore Assembly in
“We have had a wonderful response through the end of July,” Bowers said. “We have a lot of need for groups for August through the end of the year.
“We thought we would be (at this point) and nobody would be coming any more. It’s been amazing how many have continued to come.”
However, Bowers did say that more skilled volunteers are needed.
“The clean-up phase is pretty much over,” Bowers said. “Volunteers need to be prepared to do all sorts of construction and rehabilitation, such as hanging Sheetrock and roofing.”
Bowers said he is now asking groups that work on the
“It doesn’t mean everybody on the team has to be expert,” he said. “‘Skilled’ does not mean licensed and bonded. It simply means experienced in a particular skill set. Someone who has worked with Habitat for Humanity or been on mission trips before and can direct others is experienced, and for our purposes, skilled.”
Bowers said teams that are more comfortable with clean-up work are needed in
“They still have a lot of muck-out work to do. They were not able to get into neighborhoods for a long time,” Bowers said.
In addition to needing volunteers for the August-December period (only 1,700 are scheduled), Bowers said
“They are vital to what we do because they support our coordinators,” said Bowers. “Without them, it’s difficult to host 8,000 volunteers.”