Help still needed on Gulf Coast

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 29, 2006

On Aug. 29, Hurricane Katrina, one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States, came ashore at Waveland, Miss.

All the major news networks were down on the Coast – from New Orleans to Bayou La Batre, Ala., getting the stories and covering America’s worst natural disaster.

But that was five months ago. Most of us have gone on with our lives and only think about the hurricane-devastated areas when we read an article or see a report on television.

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For the residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, however, the trauma is still very real. While in some areas, the recovery effort is progressing pretty well, such as in Gulfport and Biloxi, in other areas residents are feeling a little neglected.

The Waveland area may arguably be the area hardest hit by Katrina’s storm surge. This coastal city of 7,000 had at least 50 deaths. Just about every home had some type of damage. Many were completely destroyed.

Even now, few of the businesses have re-opened and residents struggle for a sense of normalcy.

If you’re wondering what you can do to help, that’s a good first step. Here’s some suggestions:

Several Selma churches and various ministries have made trips to the Mississippi Coast to help with the relief effort. You could join one of those mission trips, or make a donation to help offset costs.

Organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse, as well as the Baptist Disaster Relief and Salvation Army, have a constant presence in the area. You can make a donation to one of those agencies and request it goes to the Katrina relief effort.

Aid organizations are constantly in need of supplies, staples such as toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, bottled water and other items. Contact a relief agency and find out what they need.

In the long recovery process there are several steps the federal and state government will take to help with this effort.

But the government is not going to provide all the help that is needed.

While millions of tax dollars are being funneled to the devastated areas, the local residents are not seeing a lot of that money.

What they are seeing is volunteers, donations of supplies and materials. What they need is someone to listen, to help, to pray and to show they care.

This is a huge catastrophe and it’s going to take all of us to help our neighbors rebuild.