Monthly Archives: May 2010

Volunteers in Mission Needed in the Southeast

United Methodist Volunteers in Mission
May 5, 2010

The Mississippi Conference received significant damage during April’s tornadoes and most recently from last week’s tornadoes and flooding. We are in need of teams for a recovery that will take several months to one year minimum.

Teams are needed throughout the state for debris removal, flood cleanup and construction.
Below is a listing of places in need of assistance along with contact information:

Yazoo City
Debris removal is being coordinated through the MCVS VRC located at the DRC in the National Guard Armory in Yazoo City. There is a site to host teams already and we will be opening a site projected operational in two weeks. This present operational site is provided through a VOAD partner the Episcopal Church, and has a capacity of 100 and is already in operation.
Camp Swayze (Boy Scout Camp)
1655 County Barn Rd
Yazoo City
Contact Person: Butch Jones, Cell# 228-234-5169

Ebenezer
There is a VRC, volunteer reception center, located at the VFD in Ebenezer. They have presently close to 100 work orders. This is within 20 miles of Yazoo City and is serviceable from the host sites there.

Mill Springs
Debris removal is needed in this area and is being coordinated from Mill Springs Missionary Baptist Church.

Weir
Debris removal is needed and is being coordinated from the DRC located at the Gymnasium at Weir.

Corinth
Relief efforts are presently coordinated from the Crossroads Arena. The needs are for flood clean up. There is a question as to who, what and how. 74 rental units were impacted which are rental assisted. There is a possibility that this is contaminated by raw sewage and will be deemed hazardous waste. Volunteers will need to check before responding.

Walnut
As of yesterday there were 35 needs identified for debris removal in the Brownfield area. This is being coordinated from Harmony Baptist Church by MCVS. Harmony Baptist is located just north of highway 72 on highway 15.

Ashland
Debris removal is needed at Ashland and the response is being coordinated from a facility located at the crossroads of old highway 370 and new highway 370.

Abbeville
Debris removal is needed in the Abbeville area and this is being coordinated by Rev. Jim Peterman phone # 662-816-3985.

Note that there will be an ERT training May 15th at Wheeler UMC.
Hot line for info and offers/needs in the Mississippi Conference: 1-866-647-7486

UMVIM, SEJ
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission
404/ 377.7424
sejinfo@umvim.org

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Wesley College Trip to Biloxi..Chaplain Mark Pruett-Barnett

If you go to Biloxi, Mississippi, you would find it hard to believe that Katrina had mauled the lives of so many people. Everything is brand new within walking distance of the Gulf Coast beaches. However, when you go a couple of blocks inland, it is hard to believe that so little had been done in 4 ½ years. People’s homes and businesses stand in dire need of repair. However, a different kind of flood – volunteers – has been in Mississippi helping people get back on their feet since 2005.
Over spring break, six intrepid Wesley College students – Yong Duan, Amanda Fetterolf, Amanda Hudson, Sydney Kahan, Nicole Oyola, Bryn Warner, – and I were privileged to go and play a part in the ever-ongoing recovery from Katrina. We met the Volunteer in Mission leaders for our trip, the Rev. Dr. Richard Vance and Linda Culp, at BWI for our flight down to New Orleans. After a pleasant flight, we “vanned” it to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi where we would stay.
For four days, the Wesley Crew worked on people’s homes. They worked at spreading pesticide on studs and beams of a Katrina-devastated house in order to get rid of mold. Everyone wore respirators in order to keep the smell down. On the second day, the Crew had a very “concrete” experience. They hauled bags of concrete; drilled holes in which to place rebars, placed the rebars; finally, they mixed, poured, and smoothed out the concrete. Wednesday saw us back at the first house, painting the studs and beams. That was all there was to paint. The entire inside of the house had to be gutted after Katrina. Eventually, future crews will put on new siding and finish the inside of the house. Thursday saw us at a house owned by Frank. Frank is a waterman who we got to know very well as the Crew painted the exterior of his house. He had many stories of his family and life in Biloxi.
The Crew ate as well as worked! One place was D’vine’s, a wonderful BBQ place. Norma is the owner who has been on The Food Network’s Dinner: Impossible. She shared about that adventure as well as her Christian testimony about how she obtained her restaurant. Her sister Brenda shared her testimony about how her family narrowly escaped death in Katrina by going up through the roof of their house and getting into a tree. Before we left, we had a chance to go by Brenda’s house and see the famous tree. It was gigantic – a true tree of life for her family. We had a rollicking time at the Shed, which had also been on the Food Network. The wonderful congregation of Prince of Peace Baptist Church also fed us one evening on some down home Mississippi cookin’. What was even better was the times of fellowship and worship we had with this congregation.
When we left, we were tired, we were ready to go, but we would miss the people we met and we were happy with the work we had done. Pastor Darrell Taylor of Prince of Peace told us he thought that the volunteers (which now included us) who gave their time, energy and skills had done more than all of the government agencies combined. One of the things that really gratified me was the comment that Jimmy Travino, our site supervisor, made. He said that out of all the groups with which he had worked the Wesley crew was his favorite. I could not ask for better than that.
I grew so much from this experience and if I had the chance, I’d do it over and over again. I guess I know where I’m going every Spring Break from here on out… I can’t wait to go back! Bryn Warner, Wesley Crew member.

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