focus on relief efforts
By SUE WATSON
communities are getting ready to host south Mississippi
and New Orleans evacuees from Hurricane Katrina which
struck the Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana Gulf Coast
area August 29. Katrina has been described as the worst
natural disaster on record to strike U.S. homeland.
banded together with local industries, businesses and
governments to prepare to help house and feed any
evacuees already in the area or any who come later.
Local inns began to fill
up and were to capacity Monday, Aug. 29, when Katrina
pushed through south Mississippi and New Orleans.
Residents cannot go back into devastated coastal areas
until federal and state agencies and local governments
give the OK.
The need to offer shelter
and relief came to awareness of the Holly Springs
community on Tuesday, Aug. 30. A group gathered at the
Holly Springs Multi-Purpose Building to organize
Wednesday evening, Aug. 31, after local churches came out
of prayer meetings.
County Department of Human
Services Director Elizabeth Kriss spearheaded the first
Red Cross organizational meeting.
Kriss said the disaster is
so widespread local agencies in this area dont know
what to expect.
We cannot predict
the volume or the need at this time, she said.
This could end up being a three-month situation.
Our priority now is to help people on the road to get to
their friends and family.
Kriss said the
Multi-Purpose Building in Holly Springs located on North
Memphis Street is set up as a Red Cross Shelter and
collection center. The center can be contacted by phone
by calling 252-4807 or the Department of Human Services
Cash or check donations
are being taken at Catholic Community Services by calling
1-662-252-1336 or by coming in the office at 690 Highway
4 East in Holly Springs, Kriss said.
The donations can be used
immediately to purchase any needs including gas vouchers,
airplane or bus tickets to help people get on their way,
By Thursday, city and
county department employees, community volunteers and
Lepher Jenkins and inmate help with the local prisonwere
unloading quilts, toiletries, towels, kitchen supplies
and mattresses (provided by Trinity Missions) at the
Jenny Sanderson, a Church
of Christ volunteer, kept inventory and helped organize
Two local churches had
paid for meals for evacuees before the weekend.
Annies Restaurant across from the shelter on North
Memphis Street assisted with meals.
We will provide
breakfast and lunch, said Annie Moffitt, another
volunteer and owner of Annies.
They will pick up
food vouchers at the Holly Springs Multi-Purpose
Building. Breakfast will be served at the building and
lunch at Annies. Friday nights supper was to
be served by Marshall Academy.
Police Chief Patricia
Selman, Barbara Lanphere and Detective Elijah Wilson were
in charge of security on behalf of Holly Mayor
Andre DeBerry and the Board of Aldermen.
We are going to do
whatever we have to do to keep it safe here, Selman
Who is to say a
disaster wouldnt hit here? she continued.
This is an experience on learning how to coordinate
and get things together. Were here under the
Mayors Task Force, is guess you could call
Sanderson, a New Orleans
area resident of 30 years prior to moving to Holly
Springs, expressed similar sentiment.
I am originally from
the west bank of the river in New Orleans, she
said. Some of them have lost their jobs and their
homes and they have children. I have people in Gonzales
affected. We dont know what theyre going
through right now. I cant get home to do anything
so this is my connection.
Speaking to the issue of
those who decided to stay on the coast and ride out the
storm and subsequent flooding, Sanderson said New Orleans
people are like everyone else, they have their roots and
they dont want to leave their ground.
Not one of us knows
what we would do in that situation, she added.
This is a crisis that has hit every single person.
This is the best thing I could do to help.
Sanderson said the
connections people have with others go far and wide and
are remarkable. People whose homes were not damaged are
being affected far away.
Her daughter in Henderson,
Tenn., for example, will be helping a step daughter of
one of Sandersons sisters in Vivian, Louisiana.
I dont care
whether you are rich or poor, right now everyone is in
the same boat, she said.
Byhalia opened Red
The Town of Byhalia began organizing Tuesday of
last week and by Thursday was busy with loads of
volunteers cleaning out the Old Byhalia gymnasium and
bringing in supplies for evacuees, according to Mayor
The structure adjacent to
city hall on the old Byhalia High School campus on
Highway 309 was also certified as a Red Cross center and
shelter and served as a collection point for donated
goods as well as a shelter for 100 people, Dempsey said.
Volunteers planned to
prepare three meals a day, according to Sarah Sawyer,
executive director of the Byhalia Area Chamber of
A list of items they want
donated will be available soon. For now the center will
need bedding - twin sheets, pillow cases, towels,
washcloths, and hand towels.
Paper products needed are
plates, napkins, plastic forks, spoons, cups, paper
towels, and toilet tissue.
Personal hygiene items
such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, brushes,
shaving cream, razors, deodorant, feminine products,
shampoo and conditioner are needed.
Housing items - tables,
chairs, fans, refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers,
washing machines, dryers and televisions are needed.
Baby items - crib sheets,
blankets, diapers, baby wipes, baby food, baby bottles
and formula are being accepted.
Entertainment items like
Bibles, board games, checkers, cards, pens, paper,
stationary, coloring books, puzzles, crayons and
magazines are needed.
Donated items can be taken
to Byhalia Town Hall, located at 161 Highway 309 South or
to the Multi-Purpose Building in Holly Springs.
For more information,
including how serve as a volunteer, call Byhalia Town
Hall at 662-838-2153. To volunteer to help with food
preparation or to add a church to the volunteer effort,
contact Bobby Smoot, Meadowbrook Baptist Church at
662-838-6279 or Byhalia United Methodist Church at
Potts Camp Baptist
Organizational meetings to see what role in the
relief effort First Baptist Church Potts Camp would play
got underway Thursday, Sept. 1.
Pastor Jim Buchanan said
First Baptist has six bedrooms in the old Greer Home
beside the church and will be able to open up the
educational space in the church if needed.
We have cleaned up
the Greer House and have beds coming in, he said.
We have plenty of bathrooms in the educational
building but are short of tubs and showers.
Catholic Social Services in Holly Springs
decided to focus its efforts on collecting bottled water
and baby supplies for its Jackson and Biloxi Dioceses,
according to Bro. Lyle Hennen.
Hennen could not be
contacted Tuesday before deadline to determine if those
or other supplies are still wanted.
To contact Catholic Social
Services at 690 Highway 4 East in Holly Springs to make a
donation or to ask for victim relief call 662-252-1336 or
send a fax to 662-252-6673.
(662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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