Lusnia works with those affected by Katrina
Linda Lusnia, of the Boise City office of the Department of Human Services took personal time to go help a Methodist Church group in Mississippi.-Ed.
I was gone from 10-15 through 10-23 on a trip to southern Mississippi to help with hurricane recovery. I drove and it was about 2300 miles round trip. I went to the town of Wiggins , which is 1/2 way between Hattiesburg and Gulfport and worked in an area that was hard hit by the hurricane. The pictures on TV and in the papers definitely do not capture the extent of the devastation. I was very blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to try to be of service.
I worked in an UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) warehouse in Wiggins. We were a distribution point of donated items for the area. We organized and kept up the warehouse, received donations and loaded them back out to those in need, and made some deliveries.
When donations from around the country or area came in, we unloaded them, logged them in to inventory, sorted them and put them away. Then when orders or needs came in we got the requested items together. Took them off inventory, and loaded them up into trucks or trailers. We did not deal much with individuals; but primarily with churches or other groups in the affected area. It seemed to be an effective and organized chain of getting donated items from all over the country to those who needed them. I was pleased and proud of how well UMCOR was organized in this effort. It was also nice to see the various denominations and organizations working together for a common good, with little friction or disagreement apparent.
Items in high demand were: flood buckets (a specific set of cleaning supplies, etc in a bucket for people to use to clean up with), bleach, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, sheets and blankets, and tools (such as rakes, shovels, brooms, and mops, etc).
I got to help make a delivery once to the coast at Bay St. Louis. We took 100 flood buckets to a church for distribution and they were so welcomed. I can not begin to tell you the depth of destruction I saw. I saw highway paving washed away; homes destroyed or gutted. People were living in tent cities; boats and cars had been tossed about. Billboards were twisted and torn down; office buildings had been ripped apart as if hit by a bomb. Roofs and trees destroyed and damaged for miles north of the coast; debris was high up in trees, and trees were killed far inland from salt water, etc.
People had banded together to help one another in a wonderful spirit of cooperation and brotherhood, exhibiting the ingenuity, creativity, love, and neighborliness in their fighting American spirit. All the people I spoke with were so grateful and appreciative of how the rest of the country had come to their aid in this time of distress. I was blessed by their spirit.
I took some donations directly to the minister of the First Methodist Church at Wiggins for his church to use, as they needed to in support of the work crews they were housing there.
I took 8, $25 Lowes gift cards for distribution to people who needed them, by the local minister, and I took power tools (Skil saw, drills, blades, and bits), screws and fasteners, and extension cords to a church on the coast for the use of their community members to repair and rebuild. They were very needed and welcomed.
I was proud to have the opportunity to represent my community and my church in this effort. I was blessed much more from the experience than I gave.
Thank you all for you prayers and support. God bless you all. Linda Lusnia
Boise City News