Local News

Faith-Based Groups Help To Rebuild After Katrina's Fury

Posted February 26, 2006

— While federal help is still just trickling into parts of the Mississippi Gulf in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, faith-based groups have been there since Day 1. They assisted with the clean-up, and now, they are helping towns rebuild.

For many people, getting help from a non-profit group, such as Samaritan's Purse, is the only way to get their homes rebuilt, right now. The volunteers are literally putting lives back together one nail at a time.

"They are still far from being ready for people to live in again," said Ken Sides, of Samaritan's Purse.

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    Almost six months after the storm, thousands of people in Mississippi Gulf towns are still homeless. Homes that are still standing have to be cleared of drywall, insulation and mold before repairs can begin. Street-by-street, house-by-house, faith-based groups are bringing people home again.

    "The people are seeing the church groups here and they're seeing work being done. It's like they're getting their hope back," Sides said.

    "A lot of people that really need help are not getting the help they need," said hurricane victim Johnny Alexander.

    Alexander did not know where to turn when Katrina flooded his home. He had no insurance and could not afford to rebuild. Lucky for him, Samaritan's Purse was there to help.

    "When these people come in, you say, 'Yes, there is hope.' It gives you strength to kind of keep going day-by-day," he said.

    Robert Gillespie and his son, Jeff, joined forces from Maryland and Winston-Salem to help rebuild homes in Biloxi. They said the hard work is worth every sore muscle.

    "Comraderie and a sense of accomplishment, doing something for someone else," Robert Gillespie said.

    Samaritan's Purse has received $36 million in donations from around the world to help in the rebuilding effort in Mississippi and Louisiana. They have committed to the area through 2006.

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