Off We Go

Thursday 17 November 2005, 8:12 am

Mark and Mary will be in Mississippi for the next two weeks. We will be involved with CityTeam who is doing hurricane relief work in the Gulfport area. The web site won't receive any significant updates during that time. The exception would be that I hope to post our experiences to the blog if we can obtain computer access.

CityTeam started running a shelter and kitchen called the San Jose Rescue Mission over 20 years ago. Their specialty is running shelters for the homeless and those with substance abuse problems. They now run shelters in several cities around the country. The government specifically asked them to help in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina due to their experience running shelters. They are committed to remaining in the gulf area for one year.

CityTeam brings groups of about 20 volunteers to Mississippi in two-week shifts. Our group leaves today (Nov 17) and returns Dec 2. We don't know exactly what we'll be doing, but I hope to let you know as it happens if possible.

A few things we do know: CityTeam is working with at least one shelter in the Gulfport area that has housed up to 500 people at one time in the past. (The numbers housed in the shelters vary widely as new shelters are opened and closed.) They are also working with a couple of churches in the area. One early project involved putting a roof on a church that had been damaged. It was during this project that hurricane Rita hit, causing an evacuation of the team and the destruction of their encampment, but miraculously, no damage to the church or its new but unfinished roof. Most of the current projects involve cleaning the interior of buildings that have been damaged but repaired, helping the displaced to find their families and apply for government resources, and helping to retrieve personal belongings from properties that have been destroyed.