More storage pods headed to Coast

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

A prayer and dedication ceremony was held in a warehouse in downtown Selma Wednesday afternoon as members of the First Baptist Church prepared to ship more storage pods to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Volunteers have used the warehouse space to construct pre-fabricated units that will be used for storage by Hurricane Katrina victims who live in FEMA trailers.

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“We are here to celebrate what God has done in the pod ministry,” said Pastor Jack Lovelace. “The people down in Bay St. Louis and other areas who will be receiving these pods desperately need them.”

During the dedication ceremony, Lovelace read scripture and led a prayer. This shipment of pods is being dedicated to the memory of Taylor Reynolds, a college student who died earlier this year.

Reynolds’ father, Mike, of Taylor-Made Lumber Company in Maplesville has been “instrumental as far as this project goes,” said Gene Middlebrooks, who has helped coordinate the building effort.

Lovelace said that in addition to the Bible verse Matthew 22:37-39 being written on the inside of each pod, each will also be inscribed, “Dedicated in memory of Taylor Reynolds.”

It was a mission trip to Waveland taken by a group from the church in January that brought to light the great need of the residents along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

“TV doesn’t do it justice. Newspapers don’t do it justice,” Harold Speir, one of the organizers of the project, said in an earlier interview. “It’s the same thing as a tsunami. Everything down there was taken away.”

Residents who had lost everything are beginning to rebuild their lives. But many live in FEMA trailers, and although they received donations from around the country, they have nowhere to store their belongings.

Pods for God is being coordinated as a volunteer mission project out of the Shoreline Park Baptist Church in Waveland to help meet that need.

In April, the Selma group shipped the first 49 pods to the Waveland church. On Wednesday, a Bush Hog truck headed south with another 49 pre-fab units – 98 total.

“It’s been a real good ministry,” Middlebrooks said. “It’s brought a lot of us closer here in this community.”

Middlebrooks said several businesses, as well as other churches and individuals, have contributed to the project.

When the pods were shipped in April, there were 500 people still on a waiting list for the units. Speir said Wednesday that a newspaper article from the Coast reported the number was down to 300 applicants. The newspaper reported the 800th pod had been delivered to a needy family.

Middlebrooks said project organizers will “continue to monitor the needs of the people” on the Coast and determine whether another truckload of pods will be constructed.

“We’re leaving the equipment set up in case we do need to do so some more,” he said.